Many people choose a career for one of two reasons: it pays well or it is their passion. Those who chose to be teachers will probably agree they did not choose their career for the paycheck. Most will tell you they became teachers to make a difference and because they’re passionate about educating and inspiring young minds. Teaching is a tough and, at times, thankless job. That’s why Teacher Appreciation Week is so important!

The Best Teachers Are Lifelong Teachers

When you think back on your school years, there is probably at least one teacher who immediately comes to mind. Most students have a teacher for one year, and then they move on to the next grade. The best teachers stay with us forever, though. They leave a lasting imprint on our lives. We remember the academic lessons they taught us, but also their one-on-one advice, wisdom, and encouragement. The best teachers give of themselves to their students.

A Week to Thank a Teacher

Teacher Appreciation Week is the ideal time for students to give back to their teachers. You can thank former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt for lobbying Congress to proclaim the first National Teacher Day back in 1953. Congress later proclaimed March 7, 1980, National Teacher Day. Until 1985, National Teacher Day was celebrated on the first Tuesday in March of each year. That year, the National Parent Teacher Association decided teachers deserved not just a special day, but a special week. The organization proclaimed the first full week in May as Teacher Appreciation Week, and it has been celebrated then ever since.

Creative Ways to Thank a Teacher

Most teachers agree that effort always gets an A+. Sure, teachers appreciate store-bought presents, gift certificates for restaurants or manicures and pedicures, or game tickets for their favorite sports team. But homemade gifts hold a special place in teachers’ hearts. Just as some of the most important lessons don’t come from a textbook, some of the most meaningful gifts don’t come from a store!

Here are some creative Teacher Appreciation Week ideas:

  • Create a scrapbook of photos from the school year.
  • Record a video of your child thanking his teacher in his own words.
  • Write a thoughtful, handwritten thank-you note.
  • Have your child paint a clay pot in which you plant flowers.
  • Create a homemade thank-you card.
  • Purchase a blank canvas and have your child paint a picture of her teacher.
  • Bake homemade cookies or other goodies.
  • Surprise your teacher in the morning with a gourmet coffee and breakfast treat or a bouquet of flowers.
  • Make a donation in your teacher’s name to a charity.
  • Create a handmade IOU (for lunch or staying after school to help organize the classroom).
  • Offer to volunteer in your child’s classroom.
  • Invite students to your house after school to create and practice a skit that they present during Teacher Appreciation Week.
  • Compile a booklet of inspirational quotes about teachers.

If you can’t decide, don’t fret. Choose your favorite five and gift your favorite teacher each day of the week. In the words of the distinguished historian and educator Jacques Barzun, “Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.” Your enthusiastic participation in Teacher Appreciation Week can help change that!

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