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5 Ways to Celebrate Your Kid’s Teacher During Teacher Appreciation Week

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Teacher appreciation week falls somewhere in April and is something that educators across America look forward to. No matter what the gift is, feeling appreciated is a huge part of this rewarding profession. The feeling of being handed a potted plant from a middle school student who has been otherwise quiet, the feeling of being given a handmade card by a kindergartner who spent 20 minutes writing their name in their very best handwriting, and the feeling of a parent coming in with a plate of homemade cookies.

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Teachers across America will have different experiences when it comes to teacher appreciation week. There might be a grade teacher whom everybody adores and who walks home with handfuls of gifts and there might be an AP teacher who has had to hand out some tough grades recently. Regardless of the situation, teachers can help by giving each other a positive boost to stay energized through the end of the school year.

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Get organized

If a few people were forgotten in past years, organization is the best remedy. Many teachers are also parents and know how hard it is to remember everything while balancing work and parenting. Thus, it’s important that somebody at the school makes a list of every educator. If each person is able to pitch in a little bit of their time they can make small homemade cards or gifts on a very small budget. This can be done quickly and efficiently after school to accommodate busy teachers or can be a fun social activity on the weekend at a luncheon or in a coffee shop.

Appreciation through collaboration

Flowers and cards make excellent gifts this spring but one of the best gifts teachers can give each other is the gift of collaboration. Newer teachers can benefit from mentorship provided by seasoned colleagues. Taking the time to share a few tips and tricks with newer colleagues can make the profession easier and help rookie teachers get through those all-important first two years. New teachers also have much to offer their more experienced colleagues including tips for using cutting-edge technology and discussion of the ever-changing ideas in educational theory. One of best gifts comes from intelligence and experience.

The gift of time

The reality for each and every teacher is they are always pressed for time. Teachers run back-and-forth hoping for a five minute coffee break or 30 minutes to sit down and eat lunch. They devote their day to their students, and they’re happy to do it, but ultimately they are exhausted. The gift of time can end up being one of the most precious ways to appreciate colleagues. Offering to look after a class for five minutes so a colleague can run for a cup of coffee with two helpings of sugar, staying five minutes late to encourage a teacher who is feeling spring semester burnout, baking a plate of cookies to help colleagues survive until 3:30 are all great ways to express appreciation. 

The gift of encouragement

Teaching is a profession where feedback is essential. Newer teachers need to know what works and what to keep in their curriculum as well as what to throw out. In the same vein, seasoned teachers need to know that their educational curriculum is still up-to-date and worthwhile. Statements such as “I really enjoyed sitting in on your presentation because I learned about XYZ” or “I like your current syllabus but I recommend switching out book A for book B because…” will provide more actionable commentary that is constructive and helpful. For many colleagues a simple “hang in there you’re doing great” makes all the difference.

Bottom line

Although all teachers hope to get cookies, flowers, and homemade cards this spring, they can also appreciate each other both in April and throughout the year. Teaching is an incredibly social and collaborative profession that relies heavily on teamwork and problem solving. One of the most useful gifts teachers can receive for teacher’s appreciation week is the gift of time and encouragement from colleagues.

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Robyn Scott is a private English tutor at TutorNerds of Orange County. She attended the University of California, Irvine as an undergraduate and the University of Southampton in England as a graduate student. She has worked with students from the United States, Japan, South Korea, the European Union, and Africa.

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