While many parent groups go all out to honor their teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week in early May, it’s also important to acknowledge teachers’ hard work during the rest of the year. Such efforts don’t have to be elaborate; what matters isn’t how much you spend or do for teachers, but rather that you’re taking the time to recognize them.
Following are some ideas for appreciating your teachers throughout the year. While some are specific to the time of year, all can be adapted to suit what works for your group and school.
August/September: Welcome-Back Breakfast; Survival Kits
Teachers will love starting the year with a back-to-school welcome breakfast. They’re easy to organize and generally not expensive, and they can be done elaborately or as a simple event. You’ll find ideas plus tips in “Celebrate With a Teacher Appreciation Breakfast.”
Fill mason jars with items like aspirin, hand sanitizer, a snack, a stain remover pen, a gift card for coffee, and hand lotion; add a Back-to-School Teacher Survival Kit label and the gift is complete.
October: Recess Duty Break
Ask volunteers to work a recess shift so teachers won’t need to for a day. Distribute these “Get Out of Recess” cards to room parents and let them help you find willing volunteers. And you can up the thoughtfulness for teachers by stocking their lounge with coffee and baked treats to enjoy during their recess break.
November: Thankful Potluck Luncheon
Extend the “giving” feeling of November to teachers by organizing a Thanksgiving-time potluck luncheon. You can enlist the help of room parents or ask for contributions (side dish, main course, dessert) based on classrooms or grades.
December: From the Students
Teachers will love a sweet touch from students during the holidays. From simple gifts they can help choose to more kid-specific gestures and gifts, there are lots of ways students can help make their teachers feel special.
January: Replenish Classroom Supplies
By midyear, classroom supplies are likely getting low, so it’s a good time to reach out to parents to send some in. You can also make a gift of it by finding a crafty volunteer or parent to turn the donations into a clever school supply cake.
Fill goody bags with classroom supplies teachers always need, such as glue sticks, erasable markers, highlighters, sticky notes, and travel-size hand sanitizer. Add a customizable goody bag tag with each teacher's name and the name of your parent group.
February: Show Some Love
Give your teachers an extra-special Valentine’s Day treat by purchasing a pretty box or jar and having students write why they love their teacher with these Valentine’s Day love notes.
March/April: Conference Meals, Treats at their Door
Hours of back-to-back meetings can leave teachers hungry and low on energy, so it’s a welcome gesture to provide snacks or meals. Options vary; you’ll find helpful tips in “7 Ways To Help Teachers During Parent-Teacher Conferences.”
Another way to give teachers a boost (at conference times or any time) is by customizing a room service menu and hand-delivering the treats.
May: The Big Hurrah
Teacher Appreciation Week, held the first week of May every year, is the typical time for groups to focus their appreciation efforts. To make a splash, you can combine several of the ideas above—better yet, check out our ultimate guide to teacher appreciation, with 54 ideas, tips, and free downloadables (registration required).
June: Summer Send-off
For schools still in session, well, you can bet your teachers are looking forward to their summer, too! Pick up a pretty summer bag, print out our relaxation tote instructions and gift tag, and fill it with fun summer items (beach towel, flip-flops, sunscreen). It’s the perfect summer send-off!
Originally posted in 2016 and updated regularly.