Looking for creative ways to say thank you to teachers this Teacher Appreciation Week? We’ve got you covered.
Many of our school volunteers and Circle the Schools company partners showed the teachers in their schools some major gratitude this year, and we’ve drawn from some of their ideas and added a few of our own so parents, volunteers and others in the community can say thanks for the incredible work educators do in our schools.
1. Create a care package.
For busy teachers, having a few much-needed items at their side can help make the day go by smoother. For the ideal teacher care package, include some school supplies (paper, markers, tissues, pencils, glue etc.), band aids, unscented hand lotion, hand sanitizer, mints, a gift card to their favorite coffee shop and perhaps some ibuprofen.
2. Provide breakfast for school staff.
Who doesn’t love to find free food when they walk into work for the day? Pool together some cash from your community to purchase a simple but delicious meal that all the teachers at your local school can enjoy. For a low-cost breakfast, buy plenty of pastries or bagels, cream cheese, orange juice, coffee and fresh fruit, and you’re set. Because not all teachers will have the time to sit down and enjoy a meal, be sure to include plenty of grab-and-go items for busy staff to enjoy.
This year, Circle the Schools partner Williams-Sonoma took this idea up a notch by hosting in its test kitchen a series of cooking demos for teachers at Galileo Academy of Science and Technology, and they were a hit with school staff.
“When you have this kind of experience with your colleagues, it’s a really great way to build community,” Galileo teacher Richard McDowell said of the demo. “It’s food and wine and a relaxed setting when you’re not running around to meet the next deadline.”
3. Spruce up the teacher’s lounge.
At many schools, the teachers’ lounge could use a little TLC. This year our Circle the Schools partner companies Credit Karma, Salesforce and Williams-Sonoma decided to give the teachers’ lounges at their partner schools a complete makeover: Fresh coats of paint, new furniture and revamped layout. But you don’t have to break out the cans of paint and a guide to feng shui to make the teachers’ lounge at your school feel more welcoming.
Add a bouquet of fresh flowers, a bowl of fresh fruit, student-created artwork and other low-cost pieces to spiff up the place. Even simply cleaning any dishes left in the sink after lunch time can be greatly appreciated and goes a long way in making the lounge more inviting.
After the folks at Salesforce surprised educators at Paul Revere with a made-over teachers’ lounge, first grade teacher Caleb Cummings was a big fan.
“It’s swanky,” Mr. Cummings said. “It’s just more comfortable now, and I would actually like to meet in here.”
4. Volunteer in a classroom.
Teaching is a major juggling act. Educating an entire class of students who are all achieving at various levels is not an easy task, but it can be made a bit easier with a volunteer to lend a hand. Volunteers can tutor students in a variety of subjects or provide classroom-wide support so teachers can focus their attention where they’re most needed. Along with supporting a teacher, you can make a difference in the life of a student. The San Francisco Education Fund trains and places volunteers in schools as tutors, classroom assistants and mentors. Learn more and sign up to volunteer here.
5. Contribute funding to an educator-driven project.
Teachers have innovative ideas that can transform their students’ learning, but they often lack the funding to make these projects a reality. That’s where teacher grants and crowdfunding comes in. The San Francisco Education Fund awards grants to teachers with novel ideas about how to improve student achievement, and you can donate to these grants here. Many educators also raise money from the community for specific projects using websites like DonorsChoose.
6. Send a note of thanks.
While finding creative and unique ways to show your appreciation is a nice touch, simply saying “thank you” to teachers in our public schools is often all it takes to make their day. Visit ThankaTeacherToday.org, where you can leave a thank-you note for a teacher in San Francisco public schools.