Show teachers and staff how much you appreciate them during Teacher Appreciation Week

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People who choose to become teachers do so because they enjoy helping others succeed and working with children. It’s definitely a labor of love.

While teachers deserve our appreciation every day of the year, Teacher Appreciation Week, May 6 to May 10, 2019, gives all of us – as administrators, support staff, parents, students and citizens – a time to stop and reflect on the tremendous contributions of our teachers. It’s also an opportunity to show our gratitude for their “above and beyond” work, their deep dedication and their profound impact on our children’s lives.

While there are many ways to show our gratitude for teachers, we thought we’d kick off the week with a few ideas – from simple “thank you” gestures to dedicated efforts – to show appreciation for teachers in our local schools. We invite you to contribute your favorite “Teacher Appreciation” suggestions in the comments below.

Meaningful gestures:
• A gift card to Starbucks or their favorite café gives them a great start for the day (and the caffeine they may need to get through it…) Yes, we’re based in Seattle, so this is a basic necessity!)
• A gift card to a teacher supply store goes a long way toward creating a positive classroom environment and inspiring students to work with others and build self-esteem.
• Keeping it fresh. Provide the teachers and staff with fresh fruit, fresh flowers, a fresh round of classroom supplies or a fresh start to the morning with special coffee and treats in the teacher’s lounge.
• De-stress. Teachers are under a lot of stress and there’s no better way to reduce that stress than using massage to treat aching muscles. It’s not very expensive to hire a massage therapist for the day. They can set up in the teacher’s lounge and each teacher can receive the benefits of a “hands on” thank you.

Gratitude projects:
• Create a gratitude journal. Put your teacher in first! This project not only shows gratitude today, it is a gift that keeps on giving, for teachers and students. Studies have shown that keeping a “gratitude journal” can lower stress and make us healthier, happier and more motivated to be our best. A study of gratitude and well-being in early adolescents showed similar results to multiple previous studies in adults: “Results indicated that counting blessings was associated with enhanced self-reported gratitude, optimism, life satisfaction, and decreased negative affect.” The study also showed that students who listed things they were grateful for felt greater satisfaction with their school experience – a blessing teachers will appreciate every day!
Analog: Give your teacher a beautifully bound gratitude journal as a gift (with your own note of gratitude tucked inside).
Digital: Have each student (and teacher) keep a gratitude journal in OneNote. Keep it personal or share it as a class. See basic instructions for a Gratitude Journal below.

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• How greatness is grown. Collect baby pictures of the staff, add life lessons that each teacher shares and post them around the school.
• Inspiring children to succeed. Ask families throughout the school to write notes that highlight how their students have grown under the guidance of their teacher. Work with the school’s PTA (or equivalent parent organization) to get these notes laminated and posted outside each teacher’s classroom.
• Where do teachers come from? Have the PTA interview each teacher and come up with five bits of trivia about the teacher such as favorite food, sports team, or songs. The PTA can post one new fact each day about the teacher outside the classroom.
• Roll out the red carpet. Combine red butcher paper and black crepe paper for a red carpet in the teacher’s lounge. Decorate the staff lounge door with “VIP Entrance Only,” and have an Oscars-style after party in the teacher’s lounge with goodie bags, finger food, and plastic champagne glasses filled with juice.
• This year you taught me… Have the PTA work with each student to come up with one example of how they’ve been inspired by their teacher. For example, “This year you taught me…” or a simple “Thank you for…” These notes can be combined to create a special memory book for teach teacher.
Pinterest is a great resource to learn about creative ways to show teachers how much you care about them and that you appreciate everything they do to help your children.

Teachers and beyond…
This is also a great week to remember the many others who have an impact on daily life at school, including the principal, secretary, custodian, bus driver and aids. Take some time to show each teacher and staff member how much you appreciate everything that they do to make a safe, secure and stimulating environment for their children.

How do you like to let teachers know what they mean to you, your children and your community?

Gratitude Journal Instructions:

Count Your Blessings with a Gratitude Journal!
There are many ways to keep a gratitude journal, but here are a few ways to make your journaling more impactful:
• Write in your gratitude journal only once each week to keep it fresh and meaningful.
• Write whom or what you are grateful for and a short explanation of why. This can be anywhere from one to four sentences – it doesn’t have to be an essay!
• Focus on only one or two people or things that you are grateful for, rather than writing an extensive list. If you have more, save them for a future week.
• It can have more impact if you focus on people, pets or other loved ones you are grateful for instead of material possessions.
• Writing down surprising or unexpected events can be very powerful subjects for gratitude journaling.
For each day you write in the journal, write:
Today’s date
I am grateful for…