National Teacher Day falls on Tuesday during the first full week of May. During this day, we often give teachers small tokens of appreciation. However, National Teacher’s Day is not the only time to give thanks to educators. Here are 10 free ways parents, students and, well anyone, can thank a teacher each and every day.
# 1 Help Out in Classroom
Helping out in the classroom is a great way for parents, grandparents and even former students to thank a teacher. After graduating, some of my former students would come back, say hello and help me file papers. Although my parent involvement was scarce, I appreciated the parents who did come in to help me with bulletin boards or chaperone a field trip.
# 2 Prepare a Project
Have you ever been to open house and seen an amazing project on the wall? Perhaps, it was a tissue paper stained glass window or a bridge made from crafts sticks? It’s likely your child’s teacher prepped and bought the supplies for the project. When I help out in my daughter’s class, I sometimes help prepare a project or even simply put the book orders into the students’ take home folders. These two activities might take me a half an hour. I figure now the teacher doesn’t have to spend time after school doing this activity. Helping the teacher prepare an art project or science experiment can save him or her a lot of time.
# 3 Get Your Kids to School on Time
We all have those days when our car doesn’t start. However, getting your kids to school on time shows you appreciate your teacher’s time. Having been an elementary school teacher, I know it can be disruptive to have kids trickling in for the first twenty minutes of the day.
# 4 Make Sure your Children Complete their Homework
Whether you agree with the effectiveness of the task or not, it’s important to help your children get their homework done. Typically, it should support what your child is doing in class. If you don’t agree with the homework, talk to the teacher about homework modification.
# 5 Nominate your Teacher
Often times, there are both local and national contests to nominate a teacher who makes a difference. This is a great opportunity to thank a teacher. For instance, currently there is a Major League Baseball promotion that asks people to nominate All-Star-Teachers. There is also the prestigious Golden Apple Award.
# 6 Write a Thank You Letter
A thank you letter on nice stationary or in a card is one of the simplest ways to say thank you. It’s nice to have students write thank you letters too. You can even do this online at thankateachertoday.org.
# 7 Make a “I Think You’re Great Because…” Poster
When I was in 6th grade, we had a day where everyone wrote their name in the middle of a big piece of paper. Then, the students went around and wrote something complimentary on each child’s paper. I loved reading the nice comments people wrote. Wouldn’t it be nice to do something similar for teachers? All you need for this is a long piece of paper with the phrase “I think you’re great because… ” and have kids fill in their thoughts.
# 8 When I Grow Up
I have always wondered what some of my students did when they grew up. A great way to thank a teacher is to write a letter to an educator who influenced them. For instance, did a writing teacher help you learn all you need to know about grammar? Did your science teacher inspire you to work in a research-related field? Hopefully, you have at least one teacher who positively impacted your life.
# 9 Get Involved
I talked about volunteering in the class. However, there are many ways to help out your school and teachers. You can join the PTO or help write a grant that gives more supplies to teachers.
# 10 Say Thank You
So simple….but it needed to be said. I feel like, as a whole, people don’t say thank you enough.
This year, try to thank a teacher. There are so many free ways to do so.
More from Melissa:
Tips From an Educator: 8 Thoughtful Teacher Appreciation Week Ideas
Teacher Turnover: Why Do Educators Leave?
Five Myths About Teachers