Here at PTO Today, we talk about Teacher Appreciation Week for months at a time, maybe even year-round. In my particular role, I have read and posted countless articles and file exchange printables with amazing suggestions for honoring teachers, ranging from detailed and creative creations and events like school-supply “cakes” and theme luncheons, to quick and easy tags to attach to small gifts.

Unfortunately, none of this information made its way to my life outside of work. In an example of “the cobbler’s children go unshod,” I had not given time or thought to how to mark the actual week for my son’s teacher (I’m the room parent) until, oh, about three days before it started. I hadn’t participated in any planning in the past, and it must have just slipped my mind. After that panicked realization, I sent a quick email to my co-room mom to which I hastily added a couple of links to some of the articles I’d spent so much time looking at, and asked for her thoughts.

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

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend what followed: a plea to the parents on our email list to send a contribution (if they wished) to the classroom within two days (they responded amazingly); a last-minute phone call to a local businesswoman and friend who sells lovely handmade soap; and a race to some local stores to get our teacher some gift cards, one for lunch and another for classroom supplies. By the time I put the soaps, the cards, and some chocolates in a nice bag and brought it to the school, I was all but panting.

But you know what? She loved it all, and especially, I could tell, the effort and acknowledgment. It really means a lot to them, which is my takeaway from the whole experience.

Next time I would certainly like to be more creative, or organized, or at least timely. But it’s also reassuring to know that for teachers, no effort is too small or hastily assembled. It’s truly the thought that counts.

Originally posted in 2012 and updated regularly.