Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week

Photo by Barb Hoyer

Teacher Appreciation Week 2012 is the time when schools and communities honor the dedicated members of the teaching profession who work daily to shape the intellects and characters of students in their care. Starting on May 7, we all have a chance to show our appreciation to teachers and let them know that their hard work is not taken for granted.

Since 1984, the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week during the first full week in May, and the National Education Association has selected the Tuesday of Teacher Appreciation Week (May 8 this year) as National Teacher Day.

Teacher Appreciation Week and National Teacher Day provide students, parents and members of the community with the perfect opportunity to express their thanks to the hard-working teachers of America. Every gesture of gratitude, from a personal expression of thanks to a community event attended by hundreds of people, will let teachers know that they are valued.

Here are some teacher appreciation week ideas, inspired by the PTA Teacher Appreciation Week Activity Ideas.

Public Recognition for Teachers

School receptions and other public events are great ways to honor teachers and highlight the important services provided by professional educators. In conjunction with recognition events, public expressions of gratitude will help make a lasting impression. A school or community can create a collective thank-you card for display at a school or community center. Members of the community can then be invited to sign the card and add their own expressions of thanks. An alternative idea is to use the Thank You, Teacher Project as inspiration and create a larger-than-life mural in a public location made up of individual thank-you cards and notes of appreciation.

On a smaller scale, individual classrooms can create large thank-you cards from poster board that are signed by each member of the class. Older students can create virtual thank-you cards in the form of digital videos that are posted on a school or community website. Parents can take out ads in local newspapers to recognize and thank the teachers in a school district or individual school.

Personal Thanks from Parents and Students

Most teachers find that personalized teacher appreciation messages help keep them enthused about their work. Teacher Appreciation Week is the perfect time for parents and students to thank current and past teachers with cards, letters, email, artwork and video messages.

In many school districts, teachers work hard to put on an annual open house that showcases student work for parents. Parents can return the favor by hosting a reception where students stage skits and musical performances in honor of their teachers.

Meaningful Expressions of Gratitude

National Teacher Day is traditionally celebrated in many schools with gifts of appreciation from parents and school organizations to teachers. Instead of presenting teachers with unwanted knickknacks, take some time to discover meaningful gifts for individual teachers. You can even ask teachers to fill out a survey about their favorite restaurants, coffee shops, books and flowers, then use the survey results to add a personal touch to each gift.

Providing free services to teachers is another meaningful way to express gratitude. Organizing a free car wash, providing lunch and snacks throughout the week or volunteering in the classroom are examples of practical gifts with a personal touch. Even small gestures like offering to help clean or decorate a classroom can touch a teacher’s heart.

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