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I never planned to be a teacher, but here I am playing ‘Teacher Mother’ (as my 7-year-old son has taken to calling me). I too joined the ranks with millions of other parents who’ve answered the call to teach on behalf of the nation’s teachers – and perform live, without a net, and for the toughest students of all (your own children).

I thought, ‘How do I even begin to fill the very big shoes of my children’s actual teachers (read: professional educators)?’ I realized quickly that I needed to stop trying to live up to their standard and focus on being the best ‘Teacher Mother’ I can be, where I am now, which is definitely not a classroom. So, I do what I do best: Practice the art of intentional celebration and spontaneous gratitude – two things that come more naturally to me.

As a room mom and an active member of our school’s Parent Volunteer Association, it’s only natural that I would feel compelled to make sure my family is showing our appreciation for all of the teachers and administrators at the school. As I started to think about things we could do, I realized this is something I can actually teach – and that the “curriculum” I’ve outlined below is something that could benefit a far more than my children’s teachers. These are gestures owed to every single educator out there, doing everything they can do to support us as we do our best to fill in for them.

So…Here Are My Top Ten Teacher Appreciation Ideas:

  • Gratitude Letters, Cards & Videos

    Have students make a card or write a letter and send them to the room parents to share with teachers. Then, wrap up the letters and cards in box with a gift card to a favorite small business in town. You could also compile video clips of students delivering a personal thank-you to their teachers. Services like Animoto make it easy to put these clips together – and even put it to music.

  1. “My Teacher is Awesome” Zoom Background

    If your school is using Zoom for video conferences, consider creating a celebratory background that you can secretly give to your students to upload to their Zoom accounts and turn on to surprise their teacher one morning. Download here!

  • Little Messages of Love

    Have students leave a voice message for their teacher and put those audio messages in a keepsake. You can help students get started by asking them to finish these sentences about their teacher: (Teacher Name) is amazing because… or (Teacher Name) makes me feel special when…

  • Make a Word Cloud and Frame It

    Have students in the class submit the top three to four words that come to mind when they think of their teacher. You put into a word cloud which you can pop into a frame for them. There are many word cloud generator websites that can easily help you build the word clouds.

  • Yard Signs for Teachers

    This is a fun surprise for a teacher to wake up to find in their yard, if it feels right for your school community. Download here!

  • Thanks, a Pop!

    This fun, sweet, popcorn gift from Popped Passion can be ordered online and shipped directly to the teacher. This makes for a great (and super easy) gift from the PTA, school administrator or the students in class and doesn’t require a lot of planning and coordination to make happen. And, they’re running a BUY one GIVE one special using the coupon code THANKSAPOP2020, plus they’re giving free shipping for teacher gifts for orders through May 12.

  • Social Distancing Classroom Clean-up Certificate

    Room parents might rally a few fellow classroom parents who can spend a few hours helping your teacher clean their classroom and pack things up once they’re able to get back into the school to turn down for summer. Download here!

  • Certificate for dinner delivered from their favorite restaurant 

    Surprise them with a dinner that literally shows up on their doorstep! The idea of not having to think about a meal is a welcome gift for anyone – and especially for the many teachers who’re teaching their own children while they teach yours virtually. Download Certificate here!

  • Lessons Learned by an Amateur Teacher –

    Consider having parents in the class send you letters (and a photo of them with their child) about what they learned while attempting to be their own children’s teacher. Include the images of the letters along with their family photo in a personalized book. There are many companies that make these books, one of my personal favorites is Artifact Uprising.

  • A Gift that Gives Back

    Teachers are passionate about making a difference in the world so why not give them a gift that gives back. Send your teacher an special In This Together t-shirt that benefits frontline workers, or make a donation in their name to their favorite local charity.

Whether you are a PTA/PTO leader, school administrator, room parent, or you just know someone who is a teacher, let’s rally together to show these amazing educators some extra special love this year.

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Author: Kim Miller

Kim is a full-time working mom with two children, ages 4 and 7. Right now she spends her days attempting to fill the big shoes of her children’s teachers while supporting her colleagues and clients (she’s Booster’s VP of Marketing), and taking parenting webinars to learn new strategies to keep the peace with everyone under one roof for a lengthy period! Kim’s also an active member of her school community (in-person and virtually), serving as a room mom, a member of the Parent Volunteer Association, and the chairperson of the school’s fun run.

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