Once upon a time, you were a little kid. You didn’t know how to read. You didn’t know how to do math. You didn’t know much about the world around you. You couldn’t play sports, you couldn’t carry an informed discussion about politics, you couldn’t quote a favorite poem or speak another language or divide 1/3 in half.

But now you can do all of those things … or most of them, at least. 😉

Why?

Because someone taught you.

And this week, we are going to say thank you.

As you might know, Teacher Appreciation Week is coming up soon in the US. All over the country, parents are (hopefully) taking this week to thank the people who teach their children. And we’re joining in the fun!

Even if you’re not a parent (or if you don’t have school-aged children), you’re not off the hook! This week’s service challenge is for you, too. I’d like to encourage you to think of a teacher who has been influential to you at some point along the way – a school teacher, a coach, a teacher at church … anyone who has helped you learn and grow. Then find an idea below, and say thanks! Drop off a gift in person, mail a card … whatever works for you!

Teacher Appreciation Challenge

As always, I’ve tried to come up with lots of ideas for you. (Remember, the goal of our service challenge isn’t to wear you out! But I do hope that you can find one or two of these ideas that resonate with you.) So here we go … ways you can show appreciation to a teacher, organized by budget:

My budget is $0. If you don’t have any extra money to purchase gifts, don’t worry! You don’t need any money to show appreciation.
* A thank-you card. I taught school for two years, and let me tell you something: a thoughtful card was a treasured gift! I would save them in my drawer and re-read them when things got stressful. Thank a teacher who has blessed you, or thank a teacher who has helped your child. Be specific – it’s always great to hear what you’re doing right! And let your child help; those little notes are priceless.
* Make a small gift. If you happen to have craft supplies lying around already, you might be able to make something that a teacher would really appreciate. For instance, many teachers write thank-you notes after teacher appreciation week. If you have scrapbooking supplies, you can make handmade greeting cards for the teacher to use. Thoughtful and practical.
* Volunteer to help in the classroom. If you do this, make your offer very specific. A generic “Let me know if I can help” is less likely to be taken up on than an offer like, “I know how busy you are, and I’d like to help! For Teacher Appreciation Week, my gift to you is 2 hours of after-school help. I am happy to cut, glue, grade, copy, laminate, or whatever you need help with! I’m free every Tuesday afternoon – please let me know what day works best for you and I’ll be there.”
* If you have young children and want to make their teachers laugh, this free printable has the potential to be funny! I’m planning on doing this with my kids, and I can’t wait to see what they say!

My budget is tight. Here are some gift ideas that are $5 or less.
* If you enjoy cooking, bake a treat. You can even make a healthier snack, like homemade granola or fruit leather. (Note: I’d only do this if the teacher knew me.)
* I love this idea of turning a bottle of soap into a clever gift. As a teacher, there are LOTS of germs floating around. A nice bottle of soap or hand sanitizer is a practical gift that is guaranteed to be used.
* This Redbox gift basket is such a fun idea! You can keep it simple and cheap, or you can add a few small things to it (like popcorn and soda).
* All kinds of things (from nail polish to a candy bar) can be turned into a fun teacher appreciation gift with a clever gift tag. If you’re not very clever, no worries – me either! That’s why I love sites like this one that round up lots of fun ideas.

I have a little more to spend. If you’d like to spoil a teacher a bit, here are a few more ideas. (Keep in mind – you can always ask around and see if any parents want to chip in and buy a group gift.)
* Gift cards. I can’t tell you how touched I was, as a brand-new teacher, to get a $25 Outback Steakhouse gift card and a $25 movie theater gift card during teacher appreciation week. I was floored! As in intern teacher, I was earning $900 a month and helping support my husband (who was in grad school). To be able to go to a restaurant and to a movie … it was such a treat!
* Buy an experience. Teachers work hard all year taking care of others – it’s time to give them the opportunity to do something for themselves! A manicure or pedicure … tickets to a museum or an exhibit … even something like rock climbing or skydiving could be fun. (I’d only do something like that if I knew the teacher fairly well and was pretty sure he or she would enjoy it.) You could even check out a website like Groupon and find something that looks fun and different.
* Put together an end-of-the-year “survival kit”. Anything you already know the teacher likes (soda, candy, etc.) is great. You can also add items that you know teachers go through a lot of (school supplies, hand sanitizer, etc.). A search on Pinterest will give you lots of suggestions!

So there are some of my favorite ideas! Have you decided who you’re going to thank this week? And have you decided how you’re going to do it? I’d love to hear your ideas!!

2 Comments on The Teacher Appreciation Challenge

  1. What great ideas! Thanks! I’m going to pin this so I have the ideas for my kids teachers! Stopping by from the Make a Difference Monday group 🙂