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6 Thoughtful Ways to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week

Brian Rahill

April 18, 2023

Your program couldn’t exist without your instructors. You can have the best marketing, the simplest registration system, and the most interesting course offerings, but it’s teachers who make your classes possible. In this post, we’ll explore how to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week to show appreciation and respect to all educators.

This year, Teacher Appreciation Week is May 8-12, 2023, which makes it a great time to show your instructors how much you appreciate them. Saying “thank you” is especially important right now. Many educators have had to navigate new ways of teaching and extra challenges over the last few years.

Teacher appreciation doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Sincerity and thoughtfulness go a long way. We’ve put together a list of ways your adult or community education program or arts program can celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week.

What Is Teacher Appreciation Week?

Congress declared the first teacher appreciation day in 1953. Schools, teachers’ groups, and students use this day to thank teachers for all they do. In 1984, the National PTA expanded the holiday to a whole week. Teacher Appreciation Week isn’t just for elementary school and high school teachers. It’s a time to recognize anyone who teaches.

Of course, showing thanks for educators should not be limited to one week a year. Nor should Teacher Appreciation Week turn into an obligation or be treated as something to check off your list. Serving donuts in the break room and handing out the same “World’s Best Teacher” mug to every instructor doesn’t really make someone feel special. So how do you sincerely show teachers you care? Here are 6 ideas to get you started.

How to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week

How to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week

While oftentimes suggestions for celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week are focused on what students and their parents can do, it’s important to recognize that receiving acknowledgement from peers and employers is also meaningful to teachers and staff. Here are some ways that your program and community can show educators that they are valued. 

1. Post on social media

Social media is a great way to publicly show gratitude for educators. Post a thank-you to your instructors and invite people to comment or share an emoji in response.

The National Education Association (NEA) invites anyone to share a message of thanks on social media, tagging @NEAToday and using the hashtags #WeHearYou and #ThankATeacher.

The National PTA offers a downloadable Teacher Appreciation Week toolkit. While it is mostly geared toward K-12 teachers, anyone can use it for inspiration to create their own social media graphics or digital thank-you cards.

2. Highlight the achievements of individual instructors

A general thank-you is nice. Recognizing what one person did is nicer. You can post to your website or social media thanking teachers for specific things they’ve done. Go one step further and write a reference for them on LinkedIn. If you have a physical classroom, posters, banners, and other displays can both embarrass and delight teachers. Canva offers a number of free templates to spotlight teachers. They can also be used to introduce instructors on your website or on “back to school” night.

3. Meet with instructors one-on-one to say thank you

Some people appreciate public displays of gratitude. Others enjoy being thanked personally and privately. A simple, “I want to thank you for all of your hard work this year,” can go a long way. Bonus points if you can mention a specific thing they did or challenge they overcame.

The psychological benefits of gratitude are well documented. Expressing gratitude can help us bond with others, and increases our social and emotional well-being.

4. Gift cards make great Teacher Appreciation Week gifts

If you have a budget set aside for small gifts, consider giving gift cards instead. It can be hard to guess what each person will like and want. Gift cards solve that problem. Popular restaurants and coffee shops are good choices, or you could give a gift card to a small business that supports education. Yoobi, a school supply company, donates an item to a child in need for every product purchased. 

Note that the AmazonSmile program, which let customers choose to donate a portion of purchases to a specific school or charity, was discontinued in February 2023.

5. Host a thank-you meal

Everyone loves free food. Bringing in donuts is one idea, but taking teachers out for a meal or ordering in lunch—including healthy options for those with food preferences or allergies—may be even more appreciated. To respect your instructors’ time, make sure it’s optional and during their regular work hours. 

Get your creative juices flowing by checking out PTO Today’s Teacher Appreciation Luncheon Themes and Ideas.

6. Encourage students to get involved with Teacher Appreciation Week

Hand-written notes of gratitude from students can mean a lot. After all, most instructors teach because they want to make a difference, help students, or share their love of the subject. Invite students to send letters, cards, and emails to their instructors.

How to Give Educators the Resources They Need

One way to make sure that educators feel appreciated all year round is to provide them with the resources they need to teach their classes. Shockingly, over 90% of teachers spend their own money on school supplies and other items their students need to succeed, according to the NEA. With CourseStorm class registration software, you can add a supply fee to student registrations and take the burden off your teachers. You can also give your instructors subscriptions to industry resources or memberships to professional organizations. 

If your educational organization is a nonprofit and budget is a concern, check out these creative ways to find savings and funding. Some grant and micro-grant programs, like CourseStorm’s SPARKed Grant Program, are available to help for-profit organizations with funding and resources. To be informed of next year’s SPARKed Grant Program, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.

Without teachers, CourseStorm wouldn’t exist. We are honored to help connect teachers and educational programs with students who are ready to learn. From CourseStorm to every teacher, instructor, professor, and educator: thank you!

Brian Rahill

Brian is a scientist-turned-education technology executive. He has founded and led technology companies for more than 20 years and uses his analytical mind and experimental approach to spur growth in small and medium businesses and start-ups. He is passionate about using technology to enhance access to lifelong learning.

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