May 4th - 8th is National Teacher Appreciation Week, but things look a little different this school year. Every day we send our children to school and while they are there we spend very little time thinking about how the teacher is going to educate 22 little minds about fractions, attend 3 IEP meetings, keep everyone in line, and the other 300 things they have to do in a day. Somehow, it all gets done and our students come home to us ready for dinner, homework, and afterschool activities or family time.
Then, seemingly overnight, schools across the country shut down due to a global pandemic, COVID-19. Suddenly, teachers and parents had to scramble to quickly figure out how to roll out “distance learning” with very little guidance and no past experience. Now 55 million American students are learning fractions with their new crisis teachers that they used to call mom and dad.
I think it’s safe to say that parents have a whole new respect for teachers these days and while virtual teacher appreciation might be a little more difficult, it can still be done! Here are a few ideas for participating in teacher appreciation events while social distancing.
#1. Photos And Videos From Students
As much as teachers joke about living for the summer months, being separated from “their kids” is killing them right now. They spend a large chunk of their day with students, it’s easy to get attached, and being suddenly cut off from them is difficult. They would love to see photos and videos of your kids engaging in learning at home or just waving a homemade poster. Just seeing their smiling face might brighten their day. Not all teachers are doing daily live Zoom or video calls so getting to see some smiling student faces could be a real treat. It also lets them know their students are thinking of them.
#2. E-mails Or E-Cards From Parents
People are quick to send an email or make a phone call when they have a complaint but showing appreciation is often overlooked. Now is a great time for parents to write an email to their children’s teachers to thank them for all the hard work they have put into creating and implementing distance learning lessons. Knowing that you are behind them and value what they are doing will surely make this the best teacher appreciation week ever. While you’re at it, send a copy to their building principal or even the district superintendent, everyone likes to look good in front of their boss!
#3. Digital Gift Cards
There are many options for virtual gift cards! Everyone is doing their fair share of online shopping, ordering food, and binging movies and books, so gift cards are especially useful right now. You can give a gift card that can be used now or saved for later when our lives start going back to normal. Here are some examples of gift cards teachers love to get:
#4. Online Shopping For Gifts
You can shop online for cute gifts for the classroom and have them sent to the school or to the teacher’s home if you have the address. Many schools are still taking in mail and allowing teachers to collect mail periodically or over the summer. Here are two great classroom gift ideas from our very own Honey Dew Gifts Store:
This cool wall hanging decoration looks like a chalkboard but is really a reusable metal sign that works great with chalk markers. The teacher can write down special events for the week's daily assignments, reminders, inspirational quotes, and anything else they dream up.
This perpetual calendar lets you write down all the activities for the month then wipe it all away to start a fresh month. This calendar features a cool comic book background but at our site, we have several other styles and themes to choose from. A reusable calendar means time and space savings that a teacher can really use in the classroom.