If this past year has taught us anything, it gave parents and caregivers insight to how difficult teaching is! We tried our best to step into teachers’ shoes…but we are not teachers. Teachers showed up for their students this year, despite what some described as “trying to build the airplane as we were flying it.” The steep learning curves involved in absorbing a whole new set of online skills, the lack of proximity to their students, and the challenges of engaging their classes in virtual learning environments made this year one that most teachers hope they don’t have to repeat. The continual transitions have been tough on everyone, as classrooms and schools open and close to in-person teaching due to COVID exposures. And yet, teachers continue to show up for students as support, educators, and advocates. How can we let our children’s teachers know that we appreciate them, even after the official teacher appreciation week is over for this year?
Handwrite a notecard: Many teachers save all of the hand-written note cards they receive and re-read them when times are difficult. Your few sentences of appreciation may give encouragement for years!
Ask your child to write a note of appreciation: Even more cherished by teachers than notes from adult caregivers are letters from students. When students explain what it is about their teacher that they are grateful for, teachers feel that their efforts are seen and are making a difference in their students’ lives. If your child needs inspiration, here are some ideas.
Include support staff: Everyone working within the school adds to student happiness and success. Be aware of other staff in the building and behind the scenes online and go out of your way to offer a kind word. If your child works one on one with support staff, think about writing a kind note. Secretaries, nurses, counselors, librarians, music teachers, PE instructors, paraeducators, speech pathologists, custodial staff, and lunchroom staff all work hard every day to support the students in your child’s school.
Read communications from your child’s teacher: Keeping up with newsletters and emails from the teachers shows them that you appreciate their hard work. When you receive a note or email from your child’s teacher, send one back that includes gratitude or a question. This back-and-forth flow builds relationships and allows teachers to feel seen and heard.
If you have the time, volunteer: Many schools encourage parent and caregiver involvement. Check with your school’s administration on when they are allowing people into the building, or if there are tasks you could do at home. Volunteering is a straightforward way to show your support and may reduce stress in teachers charged with covering so much in their days. Your time and energy send the message that you care.
There are many ways to let your child’s teacher know that you are grateful. Here are 51 more ideas.