Honoring Our Educators: 4 Ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week

by Ana Felce

Each year, Teacher Appreciation Week serves to honor all educators for the important work they do and the difference they make in others’ lives. Educators deserve year-round praise for their dedication and perseverance, but this particular week (typically observed the first week of May) is an opportunity for students and parents to do something extra special for them.

Anita Fitzgerald Henck, PhD, dean of APU’s School of Education noted that after 14 months of online and hybrid teaching, this Teacher Appreciation Week 2021 will be especially encouraging to K-12 teachers. “What a great year to celebrate creative teachers who have invested deeply in delivering quality education to children who have been learning remotely, amidst families juggling computers and internet connectivity, and parents working from home,” she said. “I encourage you to adopt the ideas below to thank a teacher.”

If you’re looking for new ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week, there are myriad ways to thank the educators who had an impact on your life. Check out the four ideas listed to get started.

1. Involve School Administration

When thinking of ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week, many involve gestures that students and their parents can make to show their gratitude. However, it’s also a great idea to make sure school administrators recognize teachers’ efforts.

Consider writing school administrators (such as principals or deans) to praise your teachers. It’s a great way to make sure teachers get recognition for their work that later reflects well on their professional careers.

2. Donate Supplies and Resources

Most elementary and secondary school teachers use their own money to buy supplies to support their students’ education, including items like Kleenex, cleaning wipes, pencils or pens, and folders. You can help ease their costs by donating the supplies they need for the rest of the school year (or even extras to help them prepare for the next school year).

To make things easier for teachers, ask for a list of supplies they need. You can even share the list with other parents and organize a donation drive to cover more supplies and avoid donating repeat items.

3. Treat a Teacher

Treat a teacher by taking a few minutes to send an e-gift card for a local coffee shop, dessert shop, or even lunch so they can stop and pick up their favorite treat during their break. Think of it as the modern take on giving a teacher an apple! You don’t have to spend a lot, but the small gesture will be sure to brighten their day.

You can also show your gratitude and enthusiasm by actively participating in class. If you don’t normally speak up, try making an effort to participate more and get the most out of your classroom discussions. Your teacher or professor will notice.

Additionally, if you are at school, make time to ask a question, say hello, or thank them for a particular lesson or topic you enjoyed. Teachers appreciate hearing that their work is impacting students’ learning in a positive way. So reach out, get to know them, and tell them how much you appreciate them.

4. Continue the Gift of Teaching

College and high school students can honor teachers by sharing their knowledge with classmates. Students can continue the gift of teaching by forming study groups or tutoring students who could use a helping hand. Older students, in particular, can volunteer to tutor younger students in subjects they studied previously. As for parents, they can volunteer as experts in their fields and lead discussions about topics they specialize in, allowing teachers to open their classrooms to others.

Time is a valuable gift—by donating your own time and knowledge, you’ll let your favorite teachers know just how much you appreciate the effort they put in every day. Paying it forward is a great way to honor them.

Teaching may not always be an easy job, but it certainly is a rewarding one. Take the time to let the teachers in your life know just how much you appreciate them with one of these ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week.

Are you wondering if teaching might be your calling or are you looking to advance your teaching career? Check out how Azusa Pacific University’s School of Education prepares today’s educators to shape the minds of the future.