9 Ways to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week

Posted by Shaun Morgan in EducationMay 8, 2023(Last Updated May 10, 2023)5 min read
Key Takeaways
  • Teacher Appreciation Week was first observed in 1984, after a proclamation was signed by President Ronald Reagan. 
  • Teacher Appreciation Week is a week to recognize and appreciate the vital role that teachers play in their students lives.
  • Gifts can be free or inexpensive, and personalized gifts have an extra special touch.
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Most people agree that teachers are overworked and underpaid. Teachers are routinely expected to put in hours outside of their contract time, including late into the evening, over the weekend, and over holidays, to complete grading, attend professional development, and be prepared for class the next day. 


These growing expectations, along with stagnant wages, have made it hard to be a teacher, but more especially when it is a thankless job. That is why teacher appreciation week is so important for students, parents, and administration to acknowledge and observe.


What is Teacher Appreciation Week?


Every year, Teacher Appreciation Week takes place during the first full week of May, usually from Monday to Friday. This special week is dedicated to recognizing and honoring the hard work, dedication, and contributions of teachers in the lives of students, families, and the community as a whole.


There are many ways to show your appreciation, from thoughtful gifts to simple words, and all of them matter. As simple as it is, Teachers really do enjoy teacher appreciation week, especially with it coming during the end-of-the-year mess that is the last few weeks before summer. So if you’re thinking about observing teacher appreciation week, here is what you need to know.


The History of Teacher Appreciation Week


Teacher Appreciation Week was first observed in 1984, after a proclamation was signed by President Ronald Reagan, as a week to recognize and appreciate the vital role that teachers play in shaping the lives of students and building a better future for all. But that isn’t how it started. The first national observance of teacher appreciation is credited to Elanor Roosevelt, who worked with Congress to establish National Teacher Day in 1953, although it was being celebrated locally before that.

Now, Teacher Appreciation Week is celebrated in many countries around the world, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. In the United States, National Teacher Day is celebrated on the Tuesday of that week as a continuation of the tradition that Elanor Roosevelt started.


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The Importance of Teacher Appreciation Week


Why is it important to observe Teacher Appreciation Week? Teachers are an integral part of society and contribute significantly to the development of students. They spend countless hours working on lesson plans, grading papers, and providing feedback to their students. They often have to pay for classroom supplies and materials out of their own pockets because of inadequate funding. By observing Teacher Appreciation Week, we can show our support and gratitude for the work that teachers do.


Many teachers willingly deal with lower-paying jobs, high-stress jobs, and all the junk dumped on kids following the COVID pandemic. All they want in return is support. Teacher Appreciation Week is a chance to show your support!


Teacher helping his students


9 Ways to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week


You want to celebrate teacher appreciation, but maybe you’re not sure how. Here are nine ideas that are either free or cost just a little bit of money that can show your appreciation for educators.


1. Write Letters


One of the most thoughtful ways to show appreciation to teachers is to write them a letter expressing gratitude for all the hard work they do. Encourage students to write letters to their teachers, thanking them for their guidance and support throughout the year. Parents can also write letters to teachers, letting them know how much they appreciate their efforts.


2. Make Cards


Students can also create homemade cards for their teachers, which can be a great way to show appreciation without spending money. Teachers can display these cards in their classrooms, and they can serve as a daily reminder of the positive impact they have on their students' lives.


3. Store-Bought Treats


If you want to give your teacher a small gift, store-bought treats such as candy, cookies, or snacks can be a good option. These treats can be purchased inexpensively and are a sweet gesture to show appreciation. It is okay to ask teachers what their favorite treat is beforehand.


teacher and student


4. Classroom Donations


Many teachers have to pay for classroom supplies out of their own pockets due to limited funding. Donating classroom supplies such as pencils, writing paper, tissues, and other materials can be a great way to show support and appreciation for teachers. Ask your teacher what supplies they need and consider organizing a classroom donation drive.


5. Special Lunch


Another way to show appreciation for teachers is to organize a special lunch for them. Parents can coordinate with other parents to provide a catered lunch or potluck for teachers, giving them a break from packing their own lunches or eating in the cafeteria. If your school has a Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), make sure you get it approved by them.


6. Gift Cards


Gift cards are a great way to show appreciation for teachers while also giving them the flexibility to purchase something they really need or want. Popular gift card options include coffee shops, bookstores, restaurants, office supply stores, and prepaid gift cards so that they can use the money however they wish.


Gifts from students


7. Homemade Gifts


If you want to give a more personal and thoughtful gift, consider making something homemade for your teacher. This could be a homemade candle, a knitted scarf, or a personalized photo frame. Handmade gifts show that you put time and effort into creating something special for your teacher.


8. Pay it Forward


Encourage students to pay it forward by doing something kind for their teachers, such as helping with classroom cleanup, volunteering to tutor other students, or writing positive reviews of their teachers online. These actions show that students are not only grateful for their teachers but also willing to give back and make a difference.


9. Social Media Shoutouts


Teachers may not always receive the recognition they deserve, so sharing positive messages and shoutouts on social media can be an inexpensive way to show your appreciation. Instead of posting or reposting a generic thank you, parents can try reaching out to one educator specifically and thanking them personally. Maybe they taught you or your child. This adds a personal touch that makes being a teacher worth it.


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The Money Wrap-Up

Teacher Appreciation Week is an important opportunity to recognize and appreciate the hard work and dedication of all teachers. By showing our support and gratitude for the work that teachers do, we can help create a culture of appreciation and respect for educators. Whether it's writing a letter, giving a gift, or organizing a special event, there are many ways to show appreciation for teachers during this special week.

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