Teacher Appreciation Week is the first week in May and if you’re a room mom like me, then you know that this is one of our most important jobs. Each school takes this week to different heights.
Some schools have established programs in place, complete with committees, schedules and schoolwide activities, while other schools leave it up to the room moms and the individual families to show their appreciation and thanks.
I am lucky. At my kid's school, , not only do we have a committee, we have daily surprises planned for our teachers. A special staff luncheon, gift cards for coffee or smoothies and an afternoon filled with sweet treats are a few of the events our educators and school staff have enjoyed in the past. I can’t wait to see what our TA Week chairs have planned for this year.
In addition to these daily surprises, room moms are expected to execute a few activities. One of our school's most exciting and anticipated acts of appreciation is decorating each teacher’s classroom door. This is typically done the Sunday before Teacher Appreciation Week begins so that on Monday, when the staff and students come to school, there are 30 amazing doors to see.
During the week, teachers take their classes around the school to see all the unique door designs. These specially decorated doors, adorned with pictures and messages of thanks, stay up all week for the staff, students and parents to enjoy.
If you have never seen decorated classroom doors, view my pictures of a few doors I have done in the past. For a teacher who loved chocolate, I did a See's Candy themed door. I made a false door wrapped like a box of See's and then put each student's picture in a spray-painted coffee filter to look like a chocolate.
Another teacher was really into Facebook so I tried to duplicate her homepage, using pictures of the kids in class as FB friends. There are endless ideas. This is a really fun activity. I just love trying to create personalized doors for all of my children’s teachers. I am always amazed and inspired by the designs other parents come up with year after year.
Even if you are not room mom, Teacher Appreciation Week is a great opportunity to show your child’s teacher how much you value them and the job they do. Whether you’re a Teacher Appreciation Week pro, or just getting started, here are some ideas to get you thinking.
Do your Homework: The Internet is a great source of ideas. Just Google “Teacher Appreciation Week” and you will be amazed at the many wonderful websites. Sometimes, just browsing through different blogs inspires new ideas for me. Also, don’t be afraid to ask other moms, especially those who have older kids and have more experience.
Plan Ahead: Do not wait until the last minute to plan for this very important week. The teaching profession is under-appreciated, there is no corporate ladder to climb and whenever our state's money is mismanaged, teachers are the first to feel the pain.
This is the one time a year we can spoil and celebrate the people educating our children. Making time and planning ahead will show in the things you do for teachers week. This special attention will mean a lot to a teacher.
Gather Support: If organizing something like this is not your forte, email the parents in your class and rally some support. One mom may love scrapbooking and will take on making a page for the teacher. Another parent may offer to bring in coffee one day while another prepares a basket of homemade muffins and scones for the teacher to enjoy throughout the week. Dividing tasks makes the week easier and not so daunting. Also, lots of parents want to help but just don’t know where to begin.
Set a Schedule: If you have a school committee for Teacher Appreciation Week, wait until the schedule is set and then plan accordingly. It can be a real bummer to treat your teacher to coffee one morning only to find out your school splurged for a coffee bar that day.
So, if your school is planning to have a catered lunch Monday and a baked goods table Friday, plan your muffins and coffee for different days. Sit down and plan a schedule with small surprises each day.
Gift Ideas: Teacher Appreciation Week is really about showing your gratitude and appreciation for your child’s teacher. I think the tokens or surprises throughout the week should be about and from the students. Including the kids in as much as possible during the week makes it more memorable for the teacher and students.
Here are a few gift ideas I have adopted throughout the years: have each student bring a flower from home to make a class bouquet; compile letters written by each student and laminate or bind into a book – these can be poems, memories of the year, words that come to mind when they think of their teacher or hand-drawn cards or pictures; a framed picture of the class; a plate decorated with their names and year; a basket filled with the teacher's favorite things — one item brought in by each student; gift cards to a spa or favorite restaurant.
Although I usually buy a gift for the last day, I think my favorite days are when the kids and parents surprise the teacher with pictures or messages of thanks.
No matter what you plan for your child’s teacher this year, remember that when it comes from the heart, everyone wins. To all the teachers out there reading this, I wish you a wonderful week and I thank you for doing one of the most important jobs in our society. Remember, “Teachers touch a life forever.”