The week of May 8th through May 12th is “Teacher Appreciation Week” — a time to express our gratitude to beloved educators all over the world. Teachers cultivate and nurture the hearts and minds of today and the future, with care, patience, skill, and a steadfast commitment to making a difference.
Alongside dedicated parents and/or guardians, teachers are one of the most influential models in a student’s life. The National Education Association (NEA) extends its appreciation to educators, noting that “[teachers] are getting up early to make it work and they stay up late with worry. Teachers are working with parents and caregivers while they work without enough resources. They are reaching students who are falling behind and must reach into their own pockets to transform classrooms into learning environments.”
Yes, teachers definitely deserve more than just an apple. Unfortunately, most educators do not have much of the material, financial, and human capital support needed to make the large-scale transformative changes they desire to make. As we continue to strive to gain more resources, safer schools, higher compensation, and most importantly, appreciation for teachers, here are 5 ways you can show an educator some love this week or any day.
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- Show Appreciation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
The NEA has an awesome “Dear Educators” graphic you can use as you let your friends and family know that you appreciate teachers! As a bonus, if you give a special shout out to an educator that inspires you, be sure to share it on your Instagram story and tag @NEAToday. You may see your story featured on their account! #ThankATeacher
- Find Out What They Need Most in the Classroom
I recently made a donation to a local classroom to help with supplies and so can you! Harper Collins Publishers notes that finding out what is needed most in the classroom and organizing an effort to collect the items is a great way to support educators that often have to come out of pocket to fund any additional activities or supplies in their classrooms. Those activities and supplies help to make the learning experience more enjoyable for students. If you’re not sure what items are needed, simply ask!
- Handwritten Notes or Emails
Education Week asked teachers on social media to share the most meaningful ways that students, parents, and colleagues have shown appreciation for the critical work they do. Many K-12 teachers slated handwritten notes or emails to be a great way to show support. One educator noted that a handwritten note warms her heart, while another added that many of the notes she has received are posted on a bulletin board next to her desk to remind her why she remains dedicated to teaching during tough days.
- Thoughtful Treats or Gift Cards
Give a cherished teacher a sweet or savory gift of gratitude! USA Today chooses gourmet chocolate from Raaka’s or gourmet popcorn from the Popcorn Factory. A gift card is another great way to show an educator how much you care–from Starbucks for coffee, or Target for supplies, there are tons of gift cards to choose from to show support!
- Donate new or gently used books to a classroom library
It is often said that “knowledge is power.” Much of the valuable knowledge that teachers impart on pupils comes from a book, and for many students, domestically and internationally, access to books can be a challenge, especially in rural areas. Classrooms or schools equipped with creative, diverse, and engaging genres and subject matters for students to read or take home, can better promote reading and literacy skills in their students, like comprehension and critical thinking. Connect with a teacher or school that could benefit from book donations and help relieve some of the financial burden felt when educators attempt to find ways to keep students engaged.