Teacher Appreciation Week: Simple Acts to Show Appreciation

A Healthier Michigan

| 4 min read

May 6-10, 2024, is U.S. Teacher Appreciation Week. Since beginning in 1984, it marks a time to celebrate teachers with events, gifts, and an outpouring of appreciation and respect for teachers and their work. The week serves as a reminder of how important it is to listen to teachers and their self-reported concerns and needs in the education field. Teacher Appreciation Week is an appropriate time to amplify teachers’ voices. 

What are the difficulties of being a teacher?

According to the National Education Association, well over 90% of teachers nationwide spent their own money on school supplies for their classes and students, unreimbursed. The amount spent averages around $500 per year per teacher and is expected to grow according to the NEA. Teachers also make less than they did on average 10 years ago, adjusted for inflation. Examples of items teachers buy out of pocket when supplied materials or budgets are not enough to cover classroom needs include:
  • paper and notebooks
  • binders, clipboards, and organizing bins
  • crayons, pencils, and dry erase markers
  • glue sticks
  • library books

10 Ideas for Acts of Teacher Appreciation

What are some effective ways to show teachers appreciation with their unique needs and difficulties in mind? Here are ways that students and parents can show their appreciation for teachers:

1. Advocate for better pay, learning environments, funding for school and supplies, and safer schools for teachers.

Parents can learn more about being an advocate for teachers and education change from the NEA.

2. Be respectful toward teachers all the time, not just during teacher appreciation week.

Many teachers in America report feeling overworked, overwhelmed, underappreciated and that they lack appropriate respect and resources for the work they do, according to 2022 research from Education Week and Merrimack College.

3. Collect thank you notes or videos from students to share with teachers.

This can be a nice way for parents to join and show gratitude for their children’s teachers. One idea is to give students prompts such as asking what their favorite thing about their teacher is or what is one important lesson they remember from the teacher.

4. Help teachers with their daily tasks and chores.

Teachers are also often tasked with basic custodial, logistic or other work, and some of this is easy for parents or their students to help with.

5. Create art that celebrates them.

This may be especially meaningful for art teachers but is also a sweet idea for other teachers. Let children be creative with the art but it may also help to provide guidance or prompts on what they appreciate about their teachers.

6. Prepare and set up decorations.

This is a popular and common show of appreciation. Decorate the school and classroom, including the doors, with the teachers’ favorite things and colors.

7. Give teachers flowers.

One cute idea is to have each student bring one flower to school to create a bouquet for their teachers together.

8. Buy teachers lunch and treats that week.

Orders can be taken ahead of time to have lunch brought to teachers at school, and you can give treat baskets or bags to teachers full of their favorite treats and snacks. To ensure tastes, preferences, and dietary restrictions are respected, make sure to get this information from teachers ahead of time.

9. Involve local businesses to offer discounts or events for teachers.

If you or other parents at school can provide discounts or freebies to teachers at local businesses or restaurants, this can be a way to show appreciation for teachers outside of school.

10. Give teachers gifts or gift cards.

Get the students to figure out what their teacher likes, or get that information ahead of time, and get them gifts or gift cards to match. Teachers spend a lot of money out of pocket on their students, and a gift like this can be very appreciated, especially attuned to their interests.

Ways to appreciate other teachers in your life

Even if you are out of school or don’t have school-aged kids, there are still meaningful opportunities to show appreciation to the teachers and educators in your life.
  • Reach out to a childhood teacher or college educator that made a difference to you.
  • Take them out for lunch or dinner.
  • Offer to baby sit or pet sit for them if applicable so they can have time of their own.
  • Ask them if they have a supplies wish list for their classroom and support them this way.
  • Check in with them regularly to provide support and appreciation, not just during Teacher Appreciation Week.

Related Links:

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
No Personal Healthcare Advice or Other Advice
This Web site provides general educational information on health-related issues and provides access to health-related resources for the convenience of our users. This site and its health-related information and resources are not a substitute for professional medical advice or for the care that patients receive from their physicians or other health care providers.
This site and its health-related information resources are not meant to be the practice of medicine, the practice of nursing, or to carry out any professional health care advice or service in the state where you live. Nothing in this Web site is to be used for medical or nursing diagnosis or professional treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed health care provider. Always consult your health care provider before beginning any new treatment, or if you have any questions regarding a health condition. You should not disregard medical advice, or delay seeking medical advice, because of something you read in this site.