"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires," wrote William A. Ward, a renowned American author of articles, poems and meditations. May 5 to May 9 is Teacher Appreciation Week, a time for students, parents and administrators to show how much they appreciate the work teachers do. The holiday was established by the National Education Association and National PTA in 1985 and is always celebrated in the first week of May, according to the Education World blog Of Principal Concern.
- Gather parents to organize a pasta dinner:
Give teachers a night off from cooking and invite their families to the cafeteria one night for a school-hosted pasta dinner. There are plenty of parents who would love to get involved in the planning and execution of a teacher-centered event. Hopefully some are willing to make large batches of pasta, salad and sauce. Local supermarkets may even donate food to the cause. For an extra touch, have student volunteers act as servers for the evening so their educators don't have to worry about a thing. Consider purchasing Custom Coasters for the event that with the school's name and a message of gratitude printed on them.
Arrange a door prize drawing for teachers who attend. Some great gifts to offer as winnings include desk clocks like the Cylindro Carriage Clock, Double Old-Fashioned Glasses, or a new work bag such as the Cartagena Executive Briefcase.
- Start an encouraging word chain:
This is like an inspirational chain email but without a promise to grant wishes or the threat of computer viruses. Start by ordering a whole bunch of Great Work Corporate Greeting Cards plus Frosted Ergo Stick Pens. As described on Education World, choose five teachers who consistently do above-average work and fill out a card for each of them. Fill the card with praise for what the teacher has already done and words of inspiration for the future. Put those notes in each teacher's mailbox with a blank card and a pen. Leave instructions for the recipient to write a similar note for a colleague and keep the chain going. It may be helpful to create a system for teachers to know who has already received a card to prevent unbalanced recognition.
- Buy something nice for the staff room:
A staff room is like a mecca for teachers where they can relax for a few minutes between classes. It's often a place for staff to prepare and eat lunch or simply take a break from kids when time allows. Because of this, it should be a comfortable and inviting space. Search for an item that the staff room really needs whether it be a new soft couch or a bigger refrigerator to hold lunches.
- Ask local businesses about coupons and discounts for teachers:
Even if teachers don't necessarily live in the same town as the school, they are near the local businesses most days of the week so coupons to these places are convenient for all. Look into restaurant discounts, especially for take-out food to bring home to their families after a long school day. There may be companies that are willing to offer a complimentary service such as an oil change or car wash to teachers.
- Host a belated breakfast:
Wait until it is closer to the end of the school year, then organize a teacher appreciation breakfast before school. It's nice to push the event back so the teachers have a spaced-out celebration. Additionally, they might be more stressed out as the semester draws to a close so a relaxing and fulfilling meal in the morning could be exactly what they need. Hand out coffee cups to the staff, either a traditional mug like the Dip Ironstone Mug or a travel mug such as this Single Serve To Go Coffee Cup.