Teacher Appreciation Day is the first Tuesday of May. Often in schools and communities, that whole week will be dedicated to showering teachers with appreciation. Last year, we took two weeks to celebrate and honor teachers who were doing incredible things for their students. But still, it isn’t enough.
Teaching has never been for the faint of heart. But those who persevered through the pandemic and have taken on quite a bit more (of everything) are well into Superhero status. And as such, appreciation for these amazing human beings should be evident, promoted, and highlighted throughout the year. (We also wouldn’t be mad if a new super-teacher-hero movie came out every year, if kids wanted teacher-themed birthday parties, and if there was a whole theme park celebrating teachers – imagine the gift shop full of office supplies and teaching memes on everything! – but those are pipe dreams.)
Here are some meaningful ways that everyone could help teachers feel more appreciated throughout the year:
- Volunteer: If there are events (dances, field trips, book fairs, etc.) where they could use a few extra hands or eyes, sign up to help out. It doesn’t always have to be an event. You could go in and do some reading with a class or small group. Just ask (and go through the appropriate steps to become an approved volunteer)!
- Donate: Supplies are always needed: from markers and copy paper to pencils and notebooks. Check in several times throughout the year to see what teachers need.
- Send notes: Encourage your child’s teacher. Thank them. This could be for something in particular or just because. It’s amazing how much a simple note can do for an exhausted teacher.
- Be a partner: Work with the teachers to ensure the best education for your child. You’re on the same team with the same goal. Even if things are difficult or something goes sideways, remember that teachers are doing what they can to help their students succeed.
There are so many things we could be doing more often to support teachers and show them appreciation. While the dedicated week in May is an excellent time to celebrate and honor teachers, we shouldn’t wait until the end of the year. If you’re not sure how you can be useful, just ask! Let a teacher know in the beginning of the year that you’re willing to lend a hand, and keep checking in as the weeks roll by.