Teacher Appreciation Week: 6 ways to show your thanks to the teachers in your life

National Teacher Appreciation Week is May 6-10.

National Teacher Appreciation Week is May 6-10, and National Teacher Day – always the Tuesday of the first full week in May – is its focal point. 

But what’s the best way to show appreciation for the teachers in your life?

We’ve compiled a brief list of ideas from the National Parent Teacher Association, the National Education Association, and other sources. 

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Whether you’re a parent, a student, a teacher's loved one or simply someone who cares about the educators in your community, showing your appreciation for teachers is a great way to make a difference. 

Write a thank-you note – on your own or with your kids

Anyone who’s ever had a teacher – so, almost everyone – knows how hard the job can be and that it’s vitally important work. 

One easy way to show your appreciation for teachers is simply to tell them they’re appreciated. 

This can be done in several ways. If you have thank-you cards at home, jot down a few heartfelt words; alternately, more detailed sentiments could be included in a letter.

But thank-you cards can also be made – a fun activity to do with a child. 

If schedules don’t allow for a little art project, the National PTA found a way to make this project even simpler: the Thank a Teacher Toolkit

The free downloadable resources include a digital thank-you card and an acrostic poem worksheet – together, you and your child can spell the word TEACHER as a way of saying thanks. (T for terrific, E for energetic, A for adaptable, and so on.)

Whatever form your thank-you message takes, consider including a gift card if your budget allows.

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Share your sentiments on social media

A private thank you can be very meaningful, but so can a public one. 

The NEA has created a "Dear Educators" graphic you can use for a social media post. Simply share the image on Facebook, Instagram or the social media platform of your choice, then add your own thoughts in the caption – and make sure to tag the teacher, your school district, or both!

If video is more your style, the NEA encourages the sharing of Instagram Stories that include "a special shout out to an educator who inspires you." Simply use the hashtag #ThankATeacher and tag @NEAToday – they’ll be sharing the Stories of others on their own profile, too. 

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Call the Teacher Appreciation Hotline

If you’d rather honor the great teachers in your life over the phone, there’s a way to do that, too.

The NEA has a Teacher Appreciation Hotline, and they invite anyone with the urge to "share the story of an extraordinary educator who gives their best to their students every day" by calling 202-743-5371.

And if you’d like to make that phone call count just a bit more, the NEA also welcomes suggestions about "​​what educators in your area need to succeed!"

Donate school supplies with DonorsChoose

It’s no secret that many teachers need assistance when it comes to getting what they need for their classrooms. 

You can show your appreciation and make a big impact by helping to fill those gaps.

One particularly impactful way to do this – especially for those who want to support educators but don’t have school-aged children in their lives – is through DonorsChoose.org, a non-profit organization that helps connect teachers with the resources they need. 

And during 2024 Teacher Appreciation Week, the impact of those gifts is even greater. 

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Over the course of "five days of joy, gratitude, and classroom funding," DonorsChoose will be increasing support for specific kinds of projects with the help of sponsors. Each day’s focus will be revealed in the morning – for example, Monday’s focus was STEM projects, with GM doubling every donation made that day.

On Tuesday, every donation made will be matched up to 50%. 

But any donation on any day can make a difference.

Ask teachers what they need

While organizations like DonorsChoose connect donors with classrooms everywhere, you can always go straight to the source.

A great way to show appreciation for teachers is to ask them what they most need.

Maybe it’s a few new boxes of colored pencils. Maybe it’s a chaperon for a field trip.

But even if you can’t meet their needs in the moment, simply knowing someone is looking to help can make a difference. And if the project is a big one, it could be a great starting point for yourself and other volunteers to keep the appreciation going after Teacher Appreciation Week has come and gone.

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Get involved

Our last tip may be the most important, but it can also be the most difficult: playing a more active role in the classroom, directly or indirectly. 

Time is precious and people are busy, but getting involved can take many forms.

This Teacher Appreciation Week, consider asking a teacher in your life how you can get involved in a way that works for you.

If you can help out during the school day, that’s great, but if not, don’t assume there’s no way to pitch in.

Ask a teacher if they need virtual support – online projects are important, too.

And while they won’t always be the most exciting events, consider making an appearance at a school board meeting to voice your opinion and share your support. Before you go, ask a teacher what they need and how you can best advocate for them.

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