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In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we have put together a list of 5 ways to say thank you that will make your teachers and treasurer happy!
The schools we work with are filled with some amazing educators. We've witnessed teachers unabashedly showing school spirit, rallying their classes and motivating students to succeed in whatever they set out to accomplish - whether that's acing the next exam or raising pledges to better their schools. And, we know that if you're reading this blog then you've witnessed some incredible teachers as well. It's hard not to. Our world is full of them. Which is why it's so important to honor them during this special week.
But, not all gifts come wrapped in bows or burdened with hefty price tags. And, while teachers deserve the best, sometimes the most meaningful “thank you” is the one that takes more time and effort than the one that costs a lot of money. That’s why we’ve put together this list and we hope it will help to inspire your Parent Group to get creative and find unique ways of showing your gratitude!
“A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart.”
1. DIY Gifts
Ask anyone on Pinterest and they'll tell you the best gift is a gift you've made yourself. There are plenty of inspirational ideas and DIY instructions out there that can easily be used by your Parent Group to put a homemade touch on your teacher gifts this year.
We especially like the DIY gifts that serve an actual purpose for teachers, such as creative tote bags, fun bookmarks, and the countless mason jar creations that can be filled with everything from pencils to candy to cleaning supplies.
DIY gifts are great because you can buy supplies in bulk (typically from a craft's store) and then it's just a matter of putting the gifts together!
We encourage you to make this an informal event where your group and any other parents who want to join in can spend an evening making the gifts (this can even be a perfect way of getting more parent volunteers for the following school year!).
2. Group Gifts
Rather than purchasing gifts for every single teacher in your school, consider consolidating those funds and spending the money on one, big celebration/event! Here are some of our favorite ideas for group gifts:
"To teach a child is to touch the future."
3. Acknowledgment Gifts
Sometimes the best gift a teacher can receive is a simple acknowledgment that we see the incredible work they are doing and we are so very thankful. There a few ways to go about giving these educators the shout-out they deserve.
Consider using the week to congratulate specific teachers on the morning announcements for their dedication to their craft. These could even be teachers that are voted by students, parents and admin. Although it's best to make every teacher feel special during this week. Which is why we also suggest hanging a surprise sign on each teacher's door with their name and a special gift/talent they bring to the school (i.e., "Mr. Smith - the only guy who can make trigonometry seem fun!").
Also, this is a great opportunity to get the local community involved in expressing their gratitude. Contact local businesses with marquee signs to see if they will put a special message up to thank teachers in the community. Also, see if they will run any special deals for teachers during the week. Lastly, we love this idea from the National Education Association: "Invite a local newspaper reporter or editorial writer, or a local TV news personality, to spend a day as a guest teacher or classroom observer, and then to publish or air his or her observations on what being a teacher is like today" (read more great suggestions from the NEA!).
4. Student Gifts
A great way for your parent group to make teachers feel loved is to foster some student-made gifts. This can mean your group creates a video of various students saying thank you to their favorite teachers, you provide crafts for students to put together and personalize, or you get really creative and have students participate in a secret picnic luncheon for teachers!
The opportunities for this category are endless. Plus, they take creativity and organizing, but can cost next to nothing. Lastly, student gifts can actually take some of the pressure off of parents who might be stressing over their own teacher gifts for this special week. By creating the opportunities for students to express their gratitude, you not only make teachers feel good, but you also foster in students a respect and appreciation for these fine educators!
5. Class/School Gifts
Remember those funds you raised this year when you teamed up with some awesome people at The Get Movin' Crew? (If you answered no, give us a ring. Trust us, you won't regret it). Well, this is a great opportunity to put them to use!
Gifts for each classroom or for the entire school not only show teachers that they are appreciated but they serve to better the school for years to come. A great example? How about technology tools for the classroom? Now, this may seem like an expensive option, but if you have already raised the funds to purchase these tools, then the money is already accounted for. Plus, you can directly benefit teachers by providing free training for these tools and tips on how to integrate them into lesson plans.
Another big gift is to improve the resources in the library. Perhaps you could use Teacher Appreciation Week to garner great feedback from educators on the kinds of materials they would like to see in the library (or gym, or computer lab, etc.). Not only are you providing teachers with great tools for the future, but you are also making sure their voice is heard and appreciated.
How are you celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week? Have any other ideas for saying thank you on a budget? Let us know in comments or on Facebook or Twitter!