If there is any year we should all be making sure we send an extra thank you to our favorite teachers, it’s this one. They’re reimagining their entire spring curriculum so that kids can continue to learn from home, they’re getting up to speed on using Zoom and other platforms quickly, they’re reaching out to kids and families individually to check in, and some are doing it all while managing their own kids’ distance learning, too.
So many of our teachers are among the VIP’s of the 2020 Covid lockdown for so many of us parents and caregivers.
So with Teacher Appreciation Week kicking off today, let’s make sure we take a minute to thank the amazing teachers for doing all they can to help our kids during such unprecedented times.
As much as we all talk about becoming instant homeschoolers, so many of us are so lucky to still have our kids’ teachers there to help guide, grade, and, most importantly, teach.
Top photo: Beth Kernaghan via Pinterest
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1. Send teachers a written message of thanks
Free teacher appreciation printable from Tumbleweed Press Co
So many of my teacher friends have said that the thing they miss most about school shutdowns is not seeing our kids in person. They miss them! That’s why I know they would love to get a personal message of thanks from their students, whether it’s a short email from your child, a photo of a note, or an actual mailed card.
Check out this post with 7 printable teacher appreciation notes to help our kids show their love and appreciation. It includes options that are perfect for both younger and older kids — like the one shown above.
You can scan the finished work and email their masterpiece directly in seconds — or hey, pop it in the mail if it’s local and it should arrive before the end of Teacher Appreciation Week.
2. Photograph a thank you note made of chalk
My teen son would do almost anything to get out of having to put pen to paper (or write sincere words in an email) so for kids like him, I love the idea of thinking outside of the traditional thank-you-note form and sketching a colorful thank you message to a teacher in sidewalk chalk as seen on Paging Fun Mums (above), or against a backdrop, as in the top photo by Beth Kernaghan.
Or, get creative with how your kid says thank you and turn it into a craft project. Grab some brightly-colored clay or play dough and roll out Thank You. Spell it out in M&M’s. Build it in LEGO bricks. Write it on top of a sheet cake — with a promise to bring your teacher a slice in person, next year.
All you have to do is snap a photo of their finished masterpiece and send it via email. Sharing on social media, optional.
3. Send your child’s teacher a restaurant or cafe gift card…for now or later
In past years, many schools and parent organizations host a special luncheon to thank their teachers this week. And while this won’t be happening in the traditional way, you can still send them something delicious to enjoy as thank you for all their hard work right now.
On Cool Mom Eats, we shared a big list of creative gifts that support restaurants for Mother’s Day, and you can apply so many of these food-centric ideas for Teacher Appreciate Week. Send them an e-gift card to a local eatery to use now for take-out, or later for a sit-down meal.
A bigger card would be a great classroom gift from all the students, with parents donating whatever they can — even if it’s just their thanks.
4. Order their favorite treats to be delivered
Photo: Mille-feuille Bakery
If you are friendly enough with your child’s teacher to know where they live, look into ordering special goodies for them from a local bakery to enjoy at breakfast or for dessert. (Lucky New Yorkers can enjoy a dozen of Mille-Feuille’s frozen croissants, ready for proofing and baking!)
Or if you know they enjoy wine or craft beer, your local liquor store may offer home delivery of their beverages, or curbside pickup for your child’s teacher to grab whenever they like. Or hey, who could say no to a pizza?
This way, you’re supporting both your favorite local eateries while also showing appreciation to our teachers.
5. Show your thanks with a gift that keeps on blooming
Photo © Liz Gumbinner via Instagram
With so many people starting their own backyard or indoor container gardens, an e-gift card to a local nursery or gardening stand makes a great thank-you gift of herbs or vegetable plants they can pick up at their convenience. And even if they have no interest in testing out their green thumb this summer, there are so many other options from flowering annuals to easy-to-care-for ground cover.
If you’re not sure whether they’re into gardening, or if your town is still holding firm shelter–in-place rules, consider a gift of a succulent, or even a 3-month subscription to a Succulent-of-the Month Club. As a former recipient of these adorable diminutive plants, I still get so much joy from seeing them growing up on my windowsill — and they’re super affordable!
Just remember to include a gift note that says something like, “thanks for helping me grow this year.”
6. Get them started on their summer reading, or help them restock their classroom library
One of the top gift requests from teachers when we asked them to share their favorite gifts with us, is books for their classroom. Whether it’s picture books for elementary schools or YA books for high school English teachers, it’s always appreciated. And with this summer promising to be a lot more toned-down than previous summers — and with many libraries still closed — we think teachers would also love to get a few new books to read for themselves.
If they don’t have an Amazon wishlist that will send items right to their doorstep, consider sending your child’s teacher(s) an egift card from a local bookstore that offers no-contact pick up. Bookshop’s store locator will help you find local bookstores to contact directly in case you are unsure which ones are still open. Or, order an Amazon e-gift card from home and send it via email to your child’s teacher.
Easy to do, and such a useful gift.
7. Send a gift card for next year’s school supplies
Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash
As hard as this is to imagine right now, a new school year will be starting soon, and I know many teachers will be so excited to get back into their classrooms. But with so many families struggling to cover their own expenses, donations for classroom supplies will likely be lower this fall. If you are able, an e-gift card for school supplies will come in mighty handy later this summer.
Of course there are the national office supply stores such as Staples, chains like Target, or educational stores like Lakeshore Learning. But don’t forget smaller mom-and-pop school supply or office supply stores as well, to support your own community.
8. Make a donation in honor of your child’s Very Important Teacher
Making a donation in a teacher’s name is a wonderful way to recognize their contributions to your child’s education while also paying it forward to others who may need more financial support right now. We’ve long loved Donor’s Choose which allows you to give back to a classroom in need in honor of a special teacher. Pick a project by region or even project type so that you can match up a gift of computer equipment in honor of your kid’s beloved computer club teacher, or craft supplies for a classroom, kn the name of a favorite art teacher who’s gone the extra mile.
Or pick a charity you know they will be thrilled to support, like your local animal shelter for the teacher who aways talks about her rescue dog, or the local Sierra Club chapter for your teen’s favorite AP Environmental Science teacher.
Another great option is to let them pick the charity they’d like to support with a charity gift card from a company like Tis Best. which offers ecards you can send immediately or schedule to send later this week. With over a million registered charities on the list, they are bound to find a charity that is important to them.
From all of us at Cool Mom Picks, thank you to all the incredible, resilient, and dedicated teachers
who are helping our kids during this difficult time. We see you.