By Laura Stapler, corps member serving at John F. Kennedy Elementary School
The amount of work and preparation done by teachers(from organizing lessons to after-school classes and grading papers) can be absolutely awe-inspiring. But rather than standing there with your mouth agape in wonder, take action to show your teacher how amazing you think he or she is.
Be it subtle or grand, gestures of appreciation always provide a boost for both giver and receiver.
Help your teacher without being asked.
This is a subtle form of showing your partner teacher that you are aware of all of the little things that go into making a day run smoothly by starting to take care of those things without being prompted. For example, you know your teacher always starts the day by turning on the lights, updating the schedule on the board, and going to get the attendance from the office. If you do these things first, you are not only saving him/her time, but are letting him know that you are there to support his process, no matter how inconsequential it otherwise may seem.
Treat your teacher to his or her favorite goodie.
Once you lay that attendance folder on the desk, perhaps you also include a cup of your teacher’s favorite coffee. While it may seem daunting to regularly buy or secure presents for your teacher, surprising someone with a gift that tells them you know what they like or what relaxes them, especially if it is done randomly outside of traditional gift-giving occasions. You don’t have to break the bank; cut a crossword out of your morning paper if you know your teacher does one every day.
Get others (i.e. the students) involved.
Take a piece of poster board. Write your teacher’s name creatively in the middle. Have all of her students write an appreciation to her around the name. For example, a child might write, “Thank you for always providing such helpful feedback on my writing assignments,” or “Thank you for bringing games into the classroom.” This widens the scope of the appreciation and gets others to take the time to say thank you as well, when they otherwise may have been too busy. This concept can extend to including other teachers and coworkers also.
Organize a teacher appreciation event.
You may have noticed that these suggestions are becoming more and more grandiose. In this instance, you aren’t appreciating just your own teacher, but all of the teachers in your school. This could take the form of a breakfast or an assembly, and it could incorporate any number of creative ideas, from live performances of students reading thank you letters to their teachers, to potlucks full of diverse foods. This is the type of appreciation that gets the whole school involved.
Just say it.
It’s simplest way to show your gratitude. Yet, surprisingly people tend to forget during the bustling and busy day, to tell others they appreciate them. Remember to make time to thank your teacher. Whether with a note left on his desk at the end of the day, or a quick verbal acknowledgement as you both are passing in the hall, don’t leave praise and appreciation unsaid.