Activities & Lessons

2024 Happy Teacher Appreciation Week Ideas

7 Min Read
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week hero

Teachers dedicate their lives to our children. They ensure students are prepared academically, not just for success in school, but for future careers and life. Have you thanked a teacher lately for all they do? Mark your calendar for Teacher Appreciation Week and commit to one of the ideas below to show your gratitude for the educators in your life.

What Is Teacher Appreciation Week?

Teacher Appreciation Week is time set aside in May for honoring educators. The week-long celebration is the culmination of a 40-year push to establish a national teacher appreciation day. According to the National Education Association (NEA), a Wisconsin teacher named Ryan Krug began writing to political leaders around 1944 about the need for a national day to recognize teachers for their hard work and dedication to students. Arkansas teacher Mattie Whyte Woodridge took up the cause. She wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt, who in 1953 convinced Congress to proclaim a National Teachers Day.

“I have always felt that we did not give an honorable enough place in our communities to the teachers,” Roosevelt wrote in her newspaper column, “My Day,” after Congress designated the first Tuesday of March as National Teachers Day. “Next to parents they are the most important people in our communities.”

In 1985, the National PTA established Teacher Appreciation Week. The NEA then voted to mark National Teachers Day on the Tuesday that begins Appreciation Week.

When Is National Teacher Appreciation Week in 2024?

Of course, we all know every day is a great day for showing appreciation for educators. But since 1985, the official celebration of teachers has taken place during the first full week of May every year, with National Teacher Day on the Tuesday of that week. Teacher Appreciation Week 2024 starts on Monday, May 6, and ends on Friday, May 10.

Teacher Appreciation Week Ideas

Looking for an extra special way to say "thank you" this Teacher Appreciation Week? These ideas for principals, parents, and caregivers are sure to make teachers feel their worth. Check out our virtual Teacher Appreciation ideas for even more ways to celebrate educators.

1. Make a Thank-You Video

Post a call for “thank-you” videos on your school’s website, Facebook page, Instagram, or other social media account. Your invitation might read something like this: Have a teacher who inspires you? Let that person know! Record yourself or your child thanking a teacher. Use one of these prompts:

  • Thank you, (Teacher’s Name), for ______ .
  • (Teacher’s Name) made a big difference in my life by ______ .
  • Thanks to (Teacher’s Name), I’m now able to ______ .

Watch the video below to hear what the kids HMH talked with over the years love about their teachers.

2. Give a Teachers a Break!

Principals, we all know teachers are working hard during and after school hours. Give them a little "me time" to show your appreciation. We've created coupons that you can pass along to teachers. Take your pick from four Teacher Appreciation coupons that give teachers:

  • Coverage for one class period
  • Help with a classroom task like putting up a bulletin board or grading papers
  • Permission to skip one meeting of their choice
  • Relief from recess, lunch, or another duty

Print the coupons and start spreading some joy around your school. Can't give one to every teacher? Consider raffling them off.

3. "Thank-You" Door Decor

Decorate classroom doors for Teacher Appreciation Week. Enlist volunteers to help. Here are some ideas:

  • Super Shoutouts: Cut out block letters that say: Shoutouts to _____________(teacher's name), and tape them to the teacher's door. Give each student a Post-It note. Have them write one thing on it that they appreciate about their teacher. Be sure they sign their name. Then cover the door with the notes.
  • Flower Power: Cut out block letters that say: "Thank You for Helping Us Grow!" Then, have students create a flower out of construction paper and write their name along the stem. You could also paste a photo of the child in the middle of each flower. Tape the letters and flowers to the door.
  • Wishing on a Star: Cut construction paper into stars. Provide each student with one star. Ask: What wish do you have for your teacher? Have them write it on the star and sign their name. Post the stars on the door.
  • Give Teachers a Hand: Have students trace their hands on construction paper, cut them out, and write one way their teacher has helped them. Make sure they sign their names. Then cover the door with the paper hands.

4. Hold a Raffle

Ask local businesses including movie theaters, spas, restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, and bookstores to donate gift cards to teachers. Then raffle them off. Set up a small table at the school’s entrance with pen, paper (on which teachers can write their names), and a box (or other container) to hold the “raffle tickets.” Make it festive: ask students to decorate the box and create a colorful sign announcing the raffle. Set aside time before the end of the school day to announce the winners, thank those who contributed, and hand out the gift cards.

5. Fulfill a Wish

Send out a survey to find out what resources your teachers need for a hands-on project they're planning. Don't have the budget to buy the resources? Offer to write a grant to fund the project through DonorsChoose or start a GoFundMe page. Enlist parents, caregivers, staff, and even friends to help out.

6. Cover a Class

Give teachers a break. Take over a teacher’s lesson for a class period. Use the time to have students write cards or a letter of thanks to the teacher, or schedule a speaker for the class. Alternatively, you could hold a town-hall meeting for each grade (this way you can give multiple teachers a break at the same time) to gauge how kids are doing, how their school work is going, and what changes might improve their learning experience.

7. Read All About It!

Take out an ad in the local newspaper honoring the dedication of teachers in your school or district. The ad might include quotes from students about how their teachers have inspired them. Encourage the entire community to show appreciation with shoutouts on social media, by sending thank-you letters, cards, or even gift certificates for local businesses to educators they know.

8. Discounts, Deals, and Freebies

Many local and national businesses offer discounts, deals, and freebies during Teacher Appreciation Week. Do some research and provide teachers with a list of all the goodies they can get. Include HMH's free teaching resources and holiday activities and lesson plans in the list. Also consider asking a local business to provide coffee, tea, muffins, or even lunch as a special treat for teachers. Enlist older students, parents, caregivers, and school staff to research deals for teachers, write letters to local businesses asking for help honoring teachers, and sending "thank you" notes to businesses that step up.

9. Make Thumbprint Art

This "thank-you" will take some planning. Principals and other educators may consider asking an art teacher or a prep teacher to work with students to complete this thumbprint artwork for the teacher. Download and print on card stock the thumbprint art template below. Under the words “Thanks for Lifting Us Up” is a picture of a person holding balloon strings. Add students’ thumbprints above the balloon strings. Have them use colorful ink pads or tempera paint to make thumbprints that look like balloons. We’ve provided an example of a finished thumbprint art piece you can download. Another option is to have each student draw and color in a small balloon, and write their initials inside. 

10. Give a Group Gift

The days of managing a group gift are over. Parents and caregivers can easily collaborate in the creation of an online message board filled with photos, video clips, gifs, and words of thanks to a teacher, using a tool like Kudoboard. Users can then share the link or print the board as a poster or book. The site provides step-by-step directions for choosing decorative backgrounds, adding your own photos, videos, and gifs or ones from the Kudoboard library, and inviting others to sign the card and even contribute to a gift.

11. Create a Playlist

Celebrate teachers with music. Pick a theme: inspiring songs, motivational music, tough-day tunes. You can build the playlist on your own or invite teachers to share favorite songs that fit the theme. Play the songs at staff development meetings, over the intercom before classes begin, or at the end of the day. If you're sharing the playlist, consider adding podcasts to the mix. HMH’s podcast Teachers in America spotlights educators across the country who share their experience with creating accessible learning environments, fostering a growth mindset, implementing intervention, and many other education topics.

12. A Ready-Made Celebration

We've created downloadable Teacher Appreciation posters and cards to help you celebrate the educators in your life during the first week of May and all year long! You'll find a customizable poster that students can complete with the Top 10 reasons their teacher is amazing. You will also find downloadable cards that students can color, as well as a daily mindfulness poster. 

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Do you know some unique ways to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week? Share your recommendations with us on Facebook, Instagram, or via email at


For more Teacher Appreciation Week ideas, check out:

This blog, originally published in 2022, has been updated for 2024.

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