3 May 2010 03:40 PM

Teacher Appreciation Week

by rbavaria

Tomorrow, May 4, is Teacher Appreciation Day, a time for us to express our gratitude, respect, and admiration for that special teacher who’s a part of our life now or was a part of it in the past.  This special day is part of the wider Teacher Appreciation Week, when we think of all teachers and the profession in general.


I’ve written about teachers before.  My favorite teachers, the qualities of a good teacher, even what makes a good math teacher.  I remain convinced, after forty years in education, that the teacher is the cornerstone of our profession.  No one is more important than the person in front of children each and every day.  We parents, school administrators, and community members must insist on only the best, bring them to our school, and then support them.


The best are nurturing, educated, trained, child-oriented, positive, and flexible.  They know that to teach is to touch lives forever.  They know that teaching is not only preparation but presentation – the best teachers are also actors.  They love to teach.


They know that God enters each of us by a private door, so they inspire.


They have a strong sense of humor, for how can you be with children all day and not be ready to laugh as you teach and learn?  If a teacher doesn’t get one hearty laugh each day, he’s doing something wrong.  Laughter unites.


So, here we are at the perfect time to say thank you to those special teachers in our lives today or in our past.  Gifts?  I’ve written about teacher gifts and a funny experience that happened to me involving a cherry cheesecake and a Playboy.  It still makes me smile, Scott and Doug.


Gifts are nice, but they don’t have to be fancy-schmancy.


Here are a few thoughts about thanking teachers, both current and past.

  1. Food’s good.  Who doesn’t like to get a tasty treat from time to time?  With your child, bake something yummy for a favorite teacher.  With other parents, host a small, informal reception after school or a “goodies table” during the school day, where teachers can stop by between classes.

  2. Learn about the profession.  Learn about the teaching profession and encourage your teenage children to investigate it as a career choice.  Consider it yourself if you’re in one of those job-ruts and feeling that you’re not contributing as you’d like.  If you’re ready to work harder for less pay but get a heartfelt zing at the end of the day, think it over.

  3. Write a letter.  I speak from experience when I say that a touching handwritten letter or card – or even an email – is the best gift of all.  Tell the teacher how much she means to your child now, or tell a former teacher how much she’s meant to you over the years, how often you think of her.  Catch her up on your life, your family, your job, your interests and accomplishments.  Include a photo.  Ask how she’s doing.  This is the best gift.  I promise. (I love the Christmas cards with family photos from former students.  I consider their kids my “grand students.”)

  4. Write a poem.  With your child, write a poem to his favorite teacher this year.  Doesn’t have to be Pulitzer-worthy, just a sincere effort.  Or make a bookmark or a card with a nice inscription.

  5. Make it a community effort.  If you have the time, get together with other parents and students to create a “thank you book,” one page per student/family.  Write a thank-you, draw a picture, attach a photo, or share a favorite memory.  This will make a happy memento for a lucky teacher.

  6. You get the idea.  Those special teachers are our mentors, our models, and for many kids they’re second parents and heroes.  Tell them.

P.S. Here’s my favorite joke about a teacher gift.  I hope it’s true.




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