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Appreciation Week for teachers is a long-awaited holiday, usually taking place in early May, that gives students, parents, and staff alike the chance to thank teachers for all they do. But what, you might wonder, is the best way to thank your teachers this year? Whether you are a staff, student, or parent, here are some creative ideas to get started:

Be nice!

One of the easiest and most impactful things you can do for teachers, not just on Teacher Appreciation Day, but all year round as well, is to be nice! A bad attitude from a student or parent can really ruin a teacher’s day. Make sure and be nice to your teachers, not just today but every day, because they do so much for your education and wellbeing. A little politeness, or a “thank you” can go a long way, and it may even make someone’s day. Kindness costs nothing, but often has the biggest impact.

Make a sign

Making a big sign or display can be a great way to show your teachers how much they are appreciated. Students can have a lot of fun with this activity—everyone can collaborate at once on a big banner. For a great sign idea, write a teacher’s name, or “Happy Teacher Appreciation Day!”, or even just a simple, “Thank you!” and then get to decorating! Glitter, washable paints and markers, stickers, felt, crayons, or watercolor paints are all great art supplies to use on your sign. Or, students can make individual signs, to all be put up in the same place, or around the room. Either way, you’re sure to create a big, creative gesture that will knock a teacher’s socks off.

Give your teacher a gift card

If you’ve noticed that a certain teacher has a favorite coffee shop, restaurant, or local store, a gift card could be a very thoughtful and much appreciated gift. The amount of the card doesn’t matter as much the gesture, as the teacher will see how much you care. If you’re organizing a gift from an entire class, each student/family could pitch in a small amount of money (a couple of dollars, maybe) and a gift card could be procured for that amount. For example, if a class of thirty students were planning to get a gift card for their teacher, and each of them pitched in about three dollars, you’d be able to afford a $90 gift card for a teacher (or three $30 gift cards).

If you do choose to surprise your teacher with a gift card, it might be a good idea to include a card with it. See our “Make a card” section below!

Plan a surprise

In life, almost nothing is better than a good surprise. For teacher appreciation week, show your teacher how much you care about them by planning a surprise that they will surely love. Flowers in a nice vase are usually a safe bet, and well-liked, but make sure no one (teachers or other students) is allergic! Perhaps your teacher has a favorite food you could surprise them with! Or, if you know what kind of coffee/tea your teacher likes, a nice beverage at the beginning of the day is a great surprise. But overall, the point isn’t what you get them, but the fact you’re thanking them for all the effort they put into their jobs and showing that you appreciate them.

Give your teacher a gift basket

One of the best gifts to give someone (especially if you’re indecisive about what they want) is a gift basket! Gift baskets can feature lots of great little things including mugs, plants, candies and chocolates, food, stickers, or anything else you want to give, all wrapped up in a thoughtful and attractive package. There are even companies that make gift baskets especially for Teacher Appreciation Day, including things like desk plants, supplies, chocolates, and maybe even a fun mug. However, if you have lots of little hands to help you, and you’re feeling crafty, it could be fun to make your own gift basket. Here are some gift basket theme ideas for teachers:

The Art Basket

Fill a basket with all kinds of art supplies such as paints, brushes, pencils, canvas or paper, notebooks, pens, coloring books, or anything else that might be a fun and creative way to show appreciation. Make sure to tie it all up with a ribbon!

The Food Basket

if your teacher loves to cook (or just loves to eat!) then a food basket could be a good option. Find out what your teacher’s favorite foods are, and make sure to include them! If you don’t know your teacher’s favorite foods, go for the sort of things that are widely appreciated: candies, chocolates, jams, cookies, and other indulgent foods (just make sure you pay attention to dietary restrictions and allergies).

The Spa Basket

Teachers are some of the hardest working people out there, so when it comes time for Teacher Appreciation Week, they deserve to relax! A spa gift basket is a fun way to tell them to take a day off and really enjoy themselves. Options of things to include could be face masks, lotions, magazines, bath salts, nice pajamas, tea, or even a gift certificate for a massage or facial at a local spa!

The Music Basket

If your teacher is musical, it may be fun to prepare a music-themed basket for them. You could pick out instruments like maracas, recorders, xylophone, or drums! Alternatively, students could make their own instruments. Or, if they prefer to listen to music instead of playing it, you could try including some of their favorite records or CDs.

There are many other themes out there! If you’ve noticed there’s an area or topic that your teacher especially loves, try theming a basket around it! If your teacher loves to read, maybe you could put together a basket of books and bookmarks. If your teacher loves animals, maybe you could put together a basket of stuffed animals and wildlife books! The opportunities are endless.

Make a card

Whatever you end up doing, whether it’s a gift basket, gift card, surprise, sign, or even just a verbal “Thank you for all your hard work”, it might be a good idea to include a card. Giving your teacher a card guarantees that they will have a keepsake, to serve as a heartfelt memory of how much they are appreciated. Here are some great options for cards:

Homemade

Making a card by hand is a great, interactive way to put in effort for your teacher. A big homemade card with a personal message signed by every student is a wonderful surprise for Teacher Appreciation Week

Printable

There are many wonderful printable cards available online. This is a good, cost effective way to show up for your teacher. There’s nothing like a well-designed card to say, “Thank You!”

Individual

Having each student make their own individual card is also a great way to make a splash on Teacher Appreciation Day. Set kids up with paper, paints, crayons, markers, and whatever else they need. Offer help and guidance when necessary, but let the kids create whatever they’d like (this may be easier with some age groups than others). Each and every card will be unique and beautiful and will surely bring a smile to that lucky teacher’s face!

Don’t forget the staff!

As you’re thanking your teachers this Teacher Appreciation Day, it’s important to remember all the other school staff that do so much for us! Custodians, janitors, office staff, school nurses, security guards, teacher aides and others are all incredibly important to the education of children, and I’m sure they wouldn’t mind hearing a “thank you” or receiving a card once in a while!

One Important Thing to Remember:

Although Teacher Appreciation Week is an incredibly important holiday, don’t let it be the only time you thank the teachers in your life. Teachers work incredibly hard to ensure their students are happy, healthy, engaged, and getting the education they need. Teachers deserve our thanks every day, not just on Teacher Appreciation Day, or during Teacher Appreciation Week. Remember to thank your teachers anytime you see them going out of their way to help you or someone else.

Now that you have all the tools and ideas you need, it’s time to get started. Make sure and remember that what you’re doing is for the teacher, and not for you. When getting gifts or planning surprises for others, it can be easy to get caught up in what we would want, instead of thinking about what they want. Remember to keep your teachers interests in mind. But above all, it’s the thought that counts. The fact that you are interested in celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week is a gift all on its own! It doesn’t matter as much what you’re getting for your teacher, or how much it costs, as long as you’re thanking them. Teachers work incredibly hard, and teaching is often a thankless job. That’s why Teacher Appreciation Week is so important: it gives students, parents, and others the opportunity to show how important teachers and other school staff are.

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