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Looking for some creative ideas to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day in a virtual setting this year? Check out the list below that my readers helped me to create. It offers many fun ways to celebrate some teacher appreciation, even when schools are closed. There are some great suggestions!
What is Teacher Appreciation Day?
Teacher Appreciation Day is an annual event celebrated in the United States. This specific day is actually part of Teacher Appreciation Week. Many schools celebrate the week-long celebration by treating their teachers to a range of special luncheons, gifts, etc.
At its very core, Teacher Appreciation Day is about saying thanks. A simple handwritten card, a drawing, or even a verbal, “thank you!” all go such a long way to appreciate a wonderful teacher.
Our school typically has a PTO-sponsored lunch or two during the week in the faculty room. One year they completely renovated the faculty room for the teachers. It is so nice to have a specific time of the school year on which to focus these celebrations!
When is Teacher Appreciation Day?
Teacher Appreciation Day is always held on the first Tuesday that falls in the first full week in May. This year, May 5, 2020 is Teacher Appreciation Day.
Traditional Teacher Gift Ideas
Now here on this blog, easy teacher gift ideas are kind of my jam. Maybe it’s because I was a teacher before my oldest was born. Maybe it’s because year after year both of my kids have had the most wonderful, dedicated, passionate teachers ever.
No matter what the reason, I love sharing pages upon pages of free teacher gift ideas and printables.
Brand new printables: Printable Teacher Gift Tags for Virtually Learning During Social Distancing
This Year Will Look Different for Most of Us
When I think back to previous years of school, I can just picture my kids toting their flower bouquets or pizza box gifts, etc along with them on Teacher Appreciation Day.
Those things just won’t happen this year. They can’t, as we are at home, and school is being conducted online.
And yet, how many of you are even more in awe of teachers this year than other years? They have been asked to transform all of the things they typically do in the classroom into a virtual learning environment. They are home, many of them with their own kids, and still doing all that they can to make sure that they are delivering lessons to their students.
Who has tried to muddle their way through a middle school math lesson with their kid? How about struggling to help your 5th grader understand how to dissect a sentence? Or maybe even keep a kindergartner on track for a simple 10 minute reading lesson? Yep. Thank a teacher. Those heroes do this stuff day in and day out and boy am I grateful.
Teacher Appreciation Day, Distance Learning Edition
So let’s talk about how we can still celebrate teachers this year for Teacher Appreciation Day, even though your schools are (physically) closed.
My Facebook group helped me to brainstorm some ways that you can reach out and thank your kids’ teachers. Ready? Let’s go!
Teacher Appreciation Day Ideas When Schools Are Closed
- Mail a letter, card, gift card and/or drawing via snail mail. Now, if you don’t have your teacher’s home address, I suggest sending it to your school, but add “ATTN: (insert teacher’s name)” above the school name in your address. It’s highly likely that most schools still have very limited staff checking in on the building daily, if not weekly. This could include the custodial staff, administration, etc. Someone should still be in charge of bringing in the mail. You can always reach out to your school principal and confirm you can send teacher mail to the school. Teachers can then coordinate a pickup at some point.
Sending a gift card? If you want to get a little creative with the physical gift card you are mailing, check out the dozens and dozens of teacher gift card holders I have – all are free printables.
- Record a video message from your child. Record your child sharing what he/she likes about his/her teacher. Email the video to the teacher.
- Make a class video. Ask your fellow class parents to record their kids sharing a video message, holding a supportive sign, etc and then send you the videos to compile into a whole-class video.
- Send a virtual gift card to an online retailer. Top ideas over the years include amazon, Target, Teachers Pay Teachers and Barnes and Noble.
- Send flowers. This option works best when you have your teacher’s home address. I would not recommend sending anything perishable to the school where a teacher would need to come pick it up.
- Treat them to a gift certificate to a local business. This option helps TWO people – the teacher gets a gift and you help support a local business. How about a gift card to the local pizza shop so your teacher’s family can grab takeout dinner one night?
- Have your child create a sidewalk chalk masterpiece for his/her teacher. Snap a picture of the finished drawing and email it to the teacher.
- Challenge your child to write a song or poem for the teacher. Record a video of him/her performing it and send the video to the teacher.
- Send a gift from your fave small ONLINE business. Again, if you’re sending a gift to the school, skip the perishable items. But this gift is another great way to support small businesses AND awesome teachers! Cruise Etsy for something fun or perhaps you know someone who has a great shop? A couple examples off the top of my head are Sunbasil Soap (fun soaps and other bath products) and Ochre Nest (beautiful nature-inspired watercolor artwork available in print, on tea towels, pillows and more).
- Plan a big teacher celebration for when school re-opens. How about a big teacher luncheon in the fall? Start planning your celebration now – and focus on some ideas for when you are all back together again. (And what an amazing, wonderful time that will be!)
- Bonus idea: arrange a class ZOOM chat or Google hangout to wish your teacher a Happy Teacher Appreciation Day. Please be sure to check with your school’s policy on group video chats. I know that these video gatherings are super popular and a lot of fun – but they also present some potential hazards and privacy issues. Many school districts have recently banned using them. Research this option before you schedule a call and make sure you are well-informed regarding the process and school policy.
I hope this helps you out and gives you some ideas for ways to virtually celebrate your amazing teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week. Please don’t get hung up on the feeling that you HAVE to do something huge or that you NEED to spend lots of money. That’s not the point of any of this. The point, simply stated, is to say or express your thanks.
Sidenote about the picture above: Back in October, on Halloween to be exact, I found myself in an empty Kindergarten classroom. I was waiting for the kids and their teacher to return from library and had arrived to help with the Halloween parade and party afterwards. I had no idea what I would use the picture for, but I felt compelled to snap a photo of the empty elementary school room. Just as I had my camera out, my co-homeroom mom walked in. She knows that I have this site, but I still felt a little silly and remarked something like, “Oh ya know – never know when I might need a classroom image for a blog post!”
I’m sitting here shaking my head that this ends up being that post. I wonder what I would have said if someone had told me back in October what the Spring had in store.
And to all of the wonderful teachers out there who are still working hard to keep the learning going, THANK YOU!
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