Teacher appreciation week is right around the corner. Is your school/district prepared? If not, no worries! There's still time to determine how you’d like to celebrate. To make things easier, we’ve come up with a couple of fun ideas to inspire you as you plan your school/district’s celebration and have prepared some information about this joyous occasion to help you get started.
What is Teacher Appreciation Week?
To understand what Teacher Appreciation Week has come to be, it’s important to understand how it began. In 1953, the former first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, pleaded with Congress and informed them that there needs to be a day when teachers are regularly recognized for their efforts. Though she received congressional support, the first National Teacher Day did not occur until March 7, 1980. While this was certainly a win for the world of education, the National Education Association knew that they could do more, so they extended this occasion to last for a week four years later.
When is Teacher Appreciation Week 2023?
Since 1984, Teacher Appreciation Week has occurred during the first full week of May each year, with National Teacher Day occurring on the Tuesday of that week. However, this year, Teacher Appreciation Week will be celebrated from May 8, 2023 - May 12, 2023, with National Teacher's Day occurring on May 2, 2023.
Teacher Appreciation Ideas
When looking to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week 2023, the possibilities are endless. Outside of teacher appreciation gifts, there are many things you can do to make teachers feel appreciated and valued. Before deciding what to do, it is important to get a feel for what your teachers enjoy. Once you understand what makes your teachers feel both appreciated and fulfilled, it’s time to select a method of celebration. Here are a few ideas as to how you can celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week in your school/district:
- Set up a grab & go snack table: Everyone loves snacks, especially busy teachers that are always on-the-go. To celebrate, you could set up a table with snacks we all know and love such as baked goods, chips, and other snacks that will help them get through the work day.
- Encourage parents to participate: Appreciation can come from many different parties, but parents are definitely a part of the equation. To get them involved, try to send out communication to parents via email or in the mail to encourage them to donate to help you and your school/district purchase meaningful gifts or experiences for teachers such as a spa day. This will truly help teachers feel like all recipients of their hard work truly value everything that they do.
- Host a “Thank You” breakfast: It is imperative that teachers feel valued and appreciated. To do so, regular recognition by way of words and actions is important. One action you can take is to host a breakfast to recognize your staff for their efforts and immense contributions to the success of your students during this week.
- Spa Day: Teachers have extremely stressful days, so providing relaxation can be much appreciated. The type of activity you select would depend on many factors, but this week would be the perfect time to host a meditation session, a yoga session, or to bring in massage therapists to help teachers relax and show up as their best selves for the rest of the week.
- Take teachers out to lunch: Many teachers may be used to ordering lunch or bringing lunch from home, but they may appreciate a lunch at a nice restaurant with their fellow teachers to unwind and engage in quality conversation with their co-workers without worrying about responsibilities.
- Teacher appreciation deals: Many companies offer discounts during Teacher Appreciation Week and some offer discounts for teachers year-round. Put together a list of local establishments that are offering discounts either for the holiday or for teachers in general to allow teachers to celebrate with savings!
- Lights, camera, action: If you’d like to give teachers something less traditional, you could put together a video that includes a blend of parents, teachers, and administrators expressing their gratitude. After all, gratitude can go a long way.
The Perfect Gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week
Outside of the services mentioned above, many prefer to purchase gifts for teachers. If you’re considering purchasing something for the teachers in your school/district, consider the following:
- Heartfelt cards: Whether it is a card that students collaborate to make or a store-bought card that is signed by students, this type of appreciation can truly go a long way. As an educator, it can be easy to feel like your efforts go unnoticed, so a heartfelt card can make a difference!
- A cup of joe: Coffee makes the world go round! Consider purchasing coffee for the teachers in your district/school or gift cards to allow teachers to customize their morning cup o’ sunshine to make their day a little brighter.
- Gift cards: Give teachers the gift of choice by purchasing a general gift card that allows them to select where they spend it, such as a visa gift card. In doing so, teachers will be able to use this sum as they see fit.
- Fundraising: As you prepare for Teacher Appreciation week, you may have noticed that some classrooms may need more books, more supplies, more instruments, or the like. While funding may not be within your control, you may be able to assist by conducting fundraising efforts in secret that could be used to surprise teachers with additional funding for said necessary items during this week. Not only will this make teachers feel appreciated, but it will also help them better serve their students and, in turn, produce greater academic outcomes.
Getting Prepared for Teacher Appreciation Week
No matter how you plan to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week 2023, we hope you found this list of ideas helpful! Though this occasion only lasts for a week, the necessity to appreciate educators around the world will always be important. As you consider how to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week this year, we encourage you to consider what long-term efforts could look like in your school/district to increase teacher retention and ensure that teachers are able to show up to work as the best version of themselves.
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Mendoza, Jordan. “Here's How to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week When They Need It More than Ever.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 4 May 2021, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/education/2021/05/03/what-know-teacher-appreciation-week-and-national-teacher-day/4924803001.