All Ages

How to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week Virtually

by Jennifer Garry

Image credit: valentinrussanov/Getty Images

My daughter’s second grade teacher is in her first year of teaching. Like most of us, this was not the way she expected it to unfold. Instead of hands-on teaching with a class full of boisterous nine year olds, she is tracking their learning through Google Classroom and keeping in touch through (still boisterous) Google Meet sessions — battling background noise and a whole new set of distractions from learning along the way.

Teaching this year is harder than it has ever been before. Not only are teachers trying to prepare our kids academically, but they are learning an entirely new way of teaching as they go. They are trying to reach students who don’t have WiFi, who are suffering from mental health issues, who have sick family members or parents who are out of work. They are working to make our kids feel connected and have a sense of normalcy.

Aside from all of that, we’re getting a really good view of what teaching is like as we try to supplement from home. One thing is clear: it is not easy.

For Teacher Appreciation Week this year, let’s be sure to make our gratitude loud and clear. Here are some ways you can celebrate virtually.

 

Create a Thank You Video

This idea is guaranteed to bring tears to a teacher’s eyes. It requires a little bit of technological prowess (although iMovie makes it super simple if you use a Mac), but the effort will be worth it. Ask the parents or guardians of your child’s classmates to email a short video of their child sending a message to their teacher. You can have everyone say hello or list something they miss about the classroom — or you can leave it up to them. Next, edit the clips together and email the finished product to the teacher.

Create a Slideshow

If video editing is a little more than you’re able to handle, you can create something similar through a slideshow presentation. This is a very simple process — in fact, your kids might be able to show you how to do it if you’re unsure. Instead of asking the class to send video clips, ask for photos. You can center it around a theme (students working, notes from the kids, or students holding up letters to spell out a message) or you can make it more open-ended.

Set Up a Week’s Worth of Themes

Show up in the teacher’s inbox (or virtual classroom) every day throughout the course of the week with a different surprise. Coordinate with the class so that everyone works on it together. You can use one of the ideas listed here or come up with your own. Some examples include: Dress Up Like Your Teacher Day, holding up thoughtful signs during a Zoom session or Google Meet, and sharing favorite classroom memories. There are so many possibilities!

Show Your Gratitude Through a Letter or Activity Printable

Simple but always appreciated, a heartfelt thank you note is a fantastic way to show your gratitude. Kids can practice their letter writing skills and get as creative as they want with these notes. When they’re done, take a picture and email it along with the promise of handing over the real thing when you can.

Additionally, these printables provide fun prompts to get kids started when sharing their thanks for their teacher.

teacher appreciation week

Digital Gift Cards

If you want to give your child’s teacher a special little treat, gifts cards are the way to go. Most places have digital options available — whether it’s a favorite local restaurant, bookstore, or other retailer. Just make sure to double check the business is open and making deliveries!

If your preferred book retailer is shipping, these books make great gifts for teachers.

Car Parade

This idea isn’t virtual, but it’s a great way to celebrate while sticking to social distancing guidelines. If your child’s teacher is a beloved fixture of the community, a car parade is a fun way to get together while remaining at least six feet apart. Round up some past and present students, deck out your cars with signs, and drive by at a designated time. Make lots of noise and make sure your happy faces can be seen!

You can also organize a drive-through. Have families park every other spot to maintain social distance and invite teachers to come through at a certain time during the day. Again, make sure to have lots of decorations and be ready to wave and smile wide!