My mom is one of those amazing people who have chosen to be a middle school math and science teacher. After teaching for the last 22 years, she is retiring at the end of May. I may be biased, but she is truly a remarkable teacher. She works long hours, voluntarily tutors students before and after school, and insists on testing with explanation-type questions as opposed to multiple choice questions because she feels it is a better way to assess student understanding. This means she frequently brings home large stacks of papers to correct.
I have seen how she worries about certain students and continually seeks to find new and better teaching methods. She tirelessly reaches out to parents and does an excellent job at communicating with them. And she even remains calm when working with the frazzled and sometimes mean you-must-be-doing-something-wrong-because-my-child-is-failing-math parents. She amazes me! Perhaps because I grew up observing what it takes to be a fantastic teacher, I have made a consistent effort to show gratitude and appreciation to the teachers of my own children throughout each school year.
Every year during Teacher Appreciation Week, my mom comes home with an assortment of treats, notepads, desk trinkets, and flowers. It’s amazing to see how creative students and parents can be! If making something homemade is up your alley, be sure to check out the teacher appreciation Pinterest board I’ve been creating. However, if you’re not up to a Pinterest kind of project this year, you can still do something simple to express your appreciation. In fact, while my mom enjoys every token of gratitude, she says it means the most to her when a student writes something personal to her. So here are some ideas of simple things children can do to personally thank their teachers for a great year. Children can:
1. Draw a picture of their teacher, playground, or classroom. Be sure to have kids write the teacher’s name on it, and sign it.
2. Print this Mad Lib-style Teacher Appreciation Letter, and fill-in-the-blanks to describe their experience this year. This is a great way to make letter writing more manageable for younger students.
3. Choose one word to describe their teacher. Children can use glue and glitter, macaroni, pipe cleaners, flower petals, paint etc. to write the word on a card, framed paper, or canvas. Be creative and make something fun using the descriptive word.
4. Make an acrostic poem using the letters of the teacher’s name. This is what my kids wanted to do this year. My 8 year-old daughter wrote this acrostic poem for her teacher, Mrs. Monson:
Outside plays with us
5. Write a tribute. Older kids can be given a writing prompt to compose a paragraph or two to about their experience this year..
My favorite day at school this year was…
The best thing about Mr./Mrs. Hall’s class…
I will remember 4th grade because…
If purchasing a gift is more your type of thing, I've heard from multiple teachers that the number one thing on their wish list is a gift card. Gift cards for restaurants, movies, or salons allow teachers to take some me-time. And many teachers like to receive gift cards to shopping centers where they can buy supplies for their classroom without having to spend their own money.
If you are a parent, how do you show appreciation to your kids’ teachers? We’d love to hear your ideas. And if you are a teacher, what is your favorite gift to receive?