5-Step Teacher Appreciation Plan

5-Step Teacher Appreciation Plan

Whatever activities you do for teacher appreciation, follow these steps to show teachers and other staff members just how much they are valued.


Think Like a Teacher

Teachers have enough apple-theme gifts already. Think like a teacher to come up with gifts they’ll really love. You can start by asking teachers to fill out a teacher and staff survey on their favorite foods, hobbies, and preferred gift items.

You can’t go wrong by asking students to write notes or draw pictures for their teacher and compiling them into a booklet. Or you could go with small items teachers use every day, like scissors or ground coffee, and present the gifts with our colorful teacher appreciation gift tags.

Be sure to check out our Teacher Appreciation board on Pinterest, where you’ll find lots more creative gift ideas.

Include Everyone

It takes a lot of people to keep a school running smoothly. As you plan your teacher appreciation efforts, remember to include other school staff members, too. Ask the principal for a full list of school employees, or use our Staff Appreciation Checklist to determine how many people to include in your plans. (And here's the full four-part printable Teacher Appreciation planning tools that includes the survey, appreciation checklist, meal checklist, and volunteer recruitment flyer.)

Think about what type of gift or activity different types of employees would enjoy most. Many parent groups plan luncheons and invite all school employees. If you go this route, remember to do something special to thank employees who may not be able to attend a luncheon, such as cafeteria staff members or bus drivers.

50+ teacher appreciation ideas, plus planning tools, flyers, and more

Reach Out for Help

Teacher appreciation should be a group project. Find ways for families to contribute, whether it’s by bringing a dish to a potluck luncheon or bringing a single flower to create one-of-a-kind bouquets for teachers. Use our volunteer request flyer to line up volunteers to bring items for meals or snacks.

If you plan far enough ahead, you may be able to get help from area businesses, too. Grocery stores or restaurants may be willing to donate food for your breakfast or lunch. Restaurants and retail stores may donate gift certificates, which can be given away in a drawing.

Say It Out Loud

Don’t get so caught up in planning the perfect teacher appreciation luncheon that you forget to say thank you to teachers and other staff members. Prepare a short speech for your luncheon or other event to let employees know how much they’re appreciated.

Be sure to thank your child’s teachers, too. A handwritten note explaining how the teacher has helped your child, or simply saying “thank you for all you do” goes a long way.

Appreciate Year-Round

Although many parent groups plan most of their appreciation efforts during Teacher Appreciation Week (the first week of May), it’s best to find small ways to appreciate staff members throughout the school year. If your PTO doesn’t yet have a point person for teacher appreciation, recruit someone for the role.

Brainstorm ways you can show your thanks at different times of year. You might give teachers a few school supplies at the start of the school year, or ask parents to bake cookies for them before the winter holidays. Or you could present teachers with gifts to help them relax over the summer break, like magazines and sunglasses. As the saying goes, it’s the thought that counts. Teacher appreciation doesn’t have to be a big item in your budget; it just has to be an expression of thanks.

Originally posted in 2015 and updated regularly.

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