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 that make classes possible. In this article, we’ll explore how to celebrate teacher appreciation week to signal appreciation and respect to your teachers.
Teacher appreciation week 2022 is May 2nd to the 6th, which makes it a great time to show your instructors how much you appreciate them. Saying thank you is especially important right now. Many instructors have had to navigate new ways of teaching and extra challenges over the last two 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.
Like any holiday, your teacher appreciation week celebrations can sometimes feel like an obligation. Your program could get stuck in a rut, doing the same thing every year. Then you read one of those big roundups of 50 ways to thank teachers and felt overwhelmed by all the teacher appreciation ideas.
Don’t make teacher appreciation week into an obligation. Receiving the same “World’s Best Teacher” mug as every other instructor doesn’t really make someone feel special. So how do you sincerely show teachers you care?
How to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week
Popular psychology talks about expressing gratitude as a way to improve your happiness. But your goal here isn’t to make yourself feel better, it’s to show teachers and staff you value them. That takes some thought and effort.
People communicate in different ways. What feels meaningful to one person leaves another feeling like you phoned it in.
That’s why gifts aren’t always the answer. You have a full week to mix and match several of these great ideas for teacher appreciation.
1. Post on Social Media
Social media can make your gratitude public. Post a thank you to your instructors and invite people to comment or share an emoji in response.
You can grab some digital tools from the National PTA. The content in their Teacher Appreciation Week toolkit is mostly aimed at K-12 teachers, so it might not fit your instructors. But you can use it for inspiration to make your own thank you graphics.
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. If you have a physical classroom, posters, banners, and other displays can both embarrass and delight teachers.
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.
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.
Choose a vendor with wide appeal like Target or Amazon. Avoid restaurants and coffee shops since you can’t be certain every teacher frequents those places.
5. Host a thank you meal
Everyone loves free food. Host a thank you meal for teachers. Just, make sure it’s during their regular work hours and that it’s optional. People don’t want to be forced into being thanked, but they don’t want to give up their personal time to do it either.
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.
Some gift ideas to avoid during teacher appreciation week
These gifts might sound like a good idea, but they can be problematic.
Coffee Mugs – Gifts like coffee mugs or water bottles sound great in theory. But people probably already own these things. If they already have a cabinet full of coffee mugs (as many people do) they may not appreciate another one.
Drinks and Candy – Coffee, chocolate, or alcohol present other issues. It might sound unbelievable, but some people don’t drink coffee. Many have reasons for not consuming alcohol. Certain dietary restrictions may not include chocolate.
Worse, these gifts can seem insincere. They’re the kind of gifts you give when you don’t know what to give. You want gifts that show your appreciation, not just check something off your to-do list.
Without teachers, CourseStorm wouldn’t exist. We know you work hard to share your knowledge. We are honored to help connect you and your programs with students who are ready to learn.
From CourseStorm to every teacher, instructor, professor and educator. Thank you!