Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Ideas: From My Years in the Classroom

It started with posters.  The room mom for my kindergarten aged son sent an e-mail asking for a poster maker.  No one offered.  Riddled with guilt and knowing I could easily whip up a poster (or three, which is what she wanted) with the Silhouette, I volunteered.

Suddenly, she is asking me to plan the week, get the kids organized and think of a gift.  She is new to the teacher appreciation week, and she doesn't have any prior room mom experience.  I'm doing what I can to help, but it is funny how volunteering for one thing can lead to more. 

I shared some thoughts with her and thought they might be useful for my readers too!

I taught elementary school for 9 years, and I loved that my district spread the fun out all week. 

The Monday of the week, my door would be decorated.  This can be with butcher paper and a banner or just with a poster.  If you have a creative bent, this is a fun task. 

You could make a space themed poster and say "Thank you, TEACHER'S NAME.  You are out of the world amazing!" or "You are a STAR!"  Add stars, a rocket, etc.  The kids can each sign the poster.

How about a spring flower theme with words like "You helped us bloom this year!" or "You helped me GROW and love learning!"  Have a flower for each kid with their picture in it.

A superhero theme is fun in primary colors with a big "You are our HERO!" written across.

You get the gist.  Have fun with it.

One day of the week, we got flowers.  Each child was responsible for bringing in ONE flower.  Many were pretty flowers from their garden.  Some would bring in a few rather than just one.  The room mom just had to provide a vase (it could be given back and returned to the room mom) for all the flowers.  Even if some kids forget to bring a flower, the teacher still gets a beautiful bouquet to brighten her day.

Another day, we got school supplies.  Kids just brought in one thing the teacher might find helpful in his or her class--paper, wipes, whiteboard markers, crayons, pencils, etc.  It depends on the grade, but this is often an easy thing to pick up at the grocery store or even around the house, and it practically helps the teacher out greatly!  I live in California where teachers get a small, set amount for supplies, and it doesn't even begin to cover the cost of what they use during the year.  Donations are a lifesaver!

Another day of teacher appreciation week, we had the PTA provide a lunch for us.  Other ideas for a fun day are to have the class bring in the teacher's favorite lunch during her lunch break, have a breakfast basket made by the room moms, or have each kid bring in a bath treat to give to the teacher (lotion, bubble bath, anti germ gel, fancy soap, nail polish, etc.).  This last idea works best for a female teacher.

Finally, we'd end the week by getting our class gift.  It doesn't have to be huge or costly.  My favorite gifts were when the students each gave me a page in a book telling me why they appreciated me as their teacher.  Pinterest is covered with ideas for homemade, meaningful gifts.  One of my favorite thematic ideas is to put soda pop, popcorn and a gift card to the movies in a bag and have a card that says, "For a POPular teacher."  End the week with a fun, thoughtful class gift and let your teacher know how much you appreciate his or her work for your child.

I hope this gives you ideas to spoil your teacher!

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