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5 things teachers want most for Teacher Appreciation Week

April 10, 2024

5 things teachers want most for Teacher Appreciation Week

Each year, the first full week of May marks Teacher Appreciation Week, a time to show your appreciation and gratitude to the teachers and staff in your school. It’s the perfect chance for students, parents, and the community to come together to celebrate teachers and school staff for their tireless efforts.

Going the extra mile to recognize teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week is a huge morale booster, especially during the last months of a long school year. It also creates a positive and supportive school culture while helping bridge the gap between teachers and the school community. 

When parents and students celebrate educators and recognize their dedication, it strengthens the partnership between them. 

The best Teacher Appreciation Week fundraising ideas

As a PTA or PTO leader, planning for Teacher Appreciation Week starts long before May, putting the pieces in place to fund fun ways of saying thanks. Raising money to do something memorable and exciting for teachers can be simple and not require a ton of effort or planning.

Running a crowdfunding campaign is a great no-fuss fundraiser that can help you quickly and easily raise money for Teacher Appreciation Week activities. Another effective way to fund great experiences for teachers and staff is to use your relationships with local businesses for in-kind donations or discounts. 

One very effective method of Teacher Appreciation Week fundraising is to use a passive giving program like Shop to Give. Exclusive to Givebacks, the Shop to Give program makes it easy for parents to donate to your school every time they shop or dine, without it costing them anything extra. The merchants they shop with donate a percentage of the purchase to the school so you have a year-round giving stream to fund initiatives like Teacher Appreciation Week.

What teachers really want for Teacher Appreciation Week

While there are lots of ways to honor teachers and staff for Teacher Appreciation Week, there are some things that make teachers feel more appreciated than others. These five Teacher Appreciation Week winners, straight from the mouths of teachers and staff, are sure to surprise and delight. The best part? There’s one for each day of Teacher Appreciation Week. 

Catered meals

Whether it’s bagels, donuts, and pastries for breakfast or lunch from a local restaurant, providing a catered meal during teacher appreciation is always a hit. Want to make it even exciting? Have a favorite food truck roll up to school to serve or a coffee cart come around to classrooms.

If funds are especially tight, you can use the week as an opportunity to partner with local businesses who also want to show their support of school staff and teachers. Or, if you have parents who are talented cooks, ask them to volunteer their skills to contribute a homemade dish for a themed potluck-style luncheon.

Words of appreciation

Sincerely expressing heartfelt gratitude and thanks to teachers and staff for everything they do is a home run. It’s a perfect way to celebrate the teachers and staff in your school when you don’t have a budget or have a very limited budget.

In addition to the tried-and-true methods like handwritten cards and notes from students and parents, there are also some extra creative things you can do.

Gratitude jar

Throughout the week, give students small slips of paper to write words of appreciation for their teacher and collect them for a gratitude jar. Ask parents to add their notes of gratitude to the jar as well. Present the keepsake jar filled with heartfelt messages to the teacher or staff person at the end of the week. 

Help inspire students and parents by asking them to write about:

  • Moments the teacher made them feel inspired
  • How the teacher has had a positive impact on them
  • Their favorite things about the teacher
  • The thing they learned that they’re most excited about

Thank you video

Have students or PTA\PTO members with video recording and editing skills? Put them to use by creating a thank you video for Teacher Appreciation Week. 

Have students and parents send you a short video expressing their gratitude and appreciation or catch them at lunch, drop-off or pick-up, or at after school activities to record their thoughts. 

Compile your clips into a single video and surprise the teacher or staff person an awesome montage of praise and thanks they can play over and over again.

Digital scrapbook

Use an online platform to create a keepsake digital scrapbook chock-filled with messages, photos, and videos from students and parents. Pick a platform that makes it easy to send a link around to parents so they can add their appreciation content.

Gift cards

A gift card to a favorite restaurant, bookstore, coffee shop, online retailer, or office supply store is always a welcome gift that allows teachers and staff to treat themselves or put the value toward something for their classroom.

Volunteer assistance

An extra set of hands is a huge help to teachers. Organize parents to volunteer their time to assist teachers with various duties that will lessen their workload. Think about helping with:

  • Grading quizzes or tests
  • Organizing and cleaning the classroom
  • Preparing materials

Chair massages

Who doesn’t love taking a little time in their workday for some rest, relaxation, and pampering? Bringing chair massages into school so teachers can sign up for a 15-minute session during a non-teaching period is a unique way to show thanks.  

Bonus idea!

Practicing random acts of kindness doesn’t cost a thing. If you’re short on funds (or even if you’re not!), encourage students and parents to perform random acts of kindness for their teachers and staff throughout the week (and the rest of the school year). Doing small things as simple as making them a cup of coffee or helping with a task can make a big impact. 

What to remember 

While everyday is a great day to thank a teacher for everything they do, Teacher Appreciation Week is a time to make teachers and staff feel extra special. Giving teachers and staff the things they really want is the best way to show your gratitude. 

Just remember, with plenty of no and low budget ways to show thanks, it’s not about the cost, but rather the thoughtfulness behind what you do. Make Teacher Appreciation Week a memorable celebration for the people who dedicate their time, energy, and passion into students every day.