Teacher Appreciation Week Made Simple: 4 Ways to Wow

Jeanne Sager

teacher appreciationIt's that time of year again. Time to celebrate the person who comforts kids when they skin their knee on the playground, and sings the alphabet song so many times it's like a mantra in the back of the head at all moments. Yes, it's Teacher Appreciation Week!

What, you thought I meant Mother's Day? Hold your horses, Mama, you'll get your due in a few days. But this week is dedicated to the people who, as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said this week, "became teachers to make a difference in the lives of children, and for the hard work [they] do each day, [they] deserve to be respected, valued, and supported."

With my child in kindergarten, I'm more convinced than ever that a good teacher is worth her (or his) weight in gold. We started the year with an incredible teacher who believes in the value of the individual, and it's made all the difference in our child. She feels not just nurtured but loved inside the classroom, where her love of snuggles are indulged even as she's being pushed to abandon her sloppy ways for neat handwriting. Nervous about ending five years at home with me, I actually feel good about sending her out the door each morning.

It's that latter part that makes me grateful for my daughter's teacher this week, that makes me appreciate her this week. She's not just a teacher. She's a person who is willing to offer a piece of her heart to other people's children. But how do I thank her for that? Like many moms in America, I work. I couldn't make it to the PTA-sponsored teacher appreciation lunch. And I'm willing to bet a high percentage of moms can't, so here's what I'm thinking of doing for my daughter's teacher this week -- feel free to borrow for your child's educator:

Buying a Gift: The pro: Teachers don't get paid a whole heckuva lot, and they could always use a gift card to get themselves something OR something for the classroom. The con: It's nice, and useful. But does it really convey how MUCH a teacher matters to a kid?

Having the Child Make a Gift: The pro: It's the heart of the matter, isn't it? The teacher works for our kids, and they want to know the kids get that. The con: How many macaroni and glue-encrusted pieces of paper can they keep? And they get hugs from our kids daily, what about US?

Volunteering in the Classroom: The pro: Too many to list really, but let's get the big one out of the way -- you get to see the teacher in action AND lend a hand. Not to mention your kids will love it! The con: Who has the time? If you're a working mom, you have work. If you're a stay-at-home mom, there's a good chance you have a little one at home who needs care.

Writing a Letter: The pro: A gift is nice, but there's nothing like real thoughts on paper to let them know EXACTLY how you feel. The con: Is there really any con to this? Sure, it takes time out of our day, but that's really the point. I'd say this is THE perfect gift, wouldn't you?

How are you celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week? Any good tips on how to let the teacher know they're valued?


Image via Chicago 2016 Photos/Flickr

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