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 2022?
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 2022 starts on Monday, May 2, and ends on Friday, May 6.
Simple 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.
Say Thanks with Thumbprint Art
Principals, parents, caregivers, and fellow educators, take note. Here’s a thoughtful way to say "thank you" to the teachers in your life. Give them a work of art made from their students’ thumbprints. 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.
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.
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.
"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.
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. Enlist parents, caregivers, staff, and even friends to help out.
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.
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.
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
Do you know some unique ways to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week? Share your recommendations with us on Twitter (@HMHCo) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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