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3 Thoughtful Teacher Appreciation Week Ideas

National Teacher Appreciation Week, celebrated each year during the first week of May, serves as the perfect opportunity to express gratitude and compassion for educators. 

But teachers are more than educators. They may also be mentors, role models, coaches, and friends. They give tough love and warm encouragement. They help spark imagination, granting access to new worlds and new forms of expression. They work diligently, too, sometimes from early in the morning to late at night. 

Between grading assignments, planning lessons, and providing extra support, educators pour countless hours and endless energy into their students. Now’s the time to pour from your own cup to refill theirs and it doesn’t have to be an appreciation gift.  This can be a simple thank you note or doing something special every teacher appreciation day of the week.  Whether they’re your family members, friends, your children’s teachers, or teachers of your own, below you’ll find the best ways to show appreciation for those who mean the most.

Say Thanks

One idea of teacher appreciation gifts is giving thanks. A simple thank-you note doesn’t cost a lot of money or require bounds of time and creativity. But it can make a profound impact on a teacher and their sense of self-worth and accomplishment. 

Teaching often comes with tough days and moments of doubt. The educator in your life might not remember the time they stayed those extra 20 minutes with your child when you were running late for pick up, or when they calmly diffused a challenging situation. But you do. Use the occasion of Teachers Appreciation Week to remind them of their power. 

Here are some types of thank-yous that you, or your child, can send to your teacher:

  • A personal note – Thank-you notes need not be complicated, just personal and honest. Sharing a story about a time that they helped you or taught you something important will show them that you see them—and that their hard work means a lot to you. 

    Bonus: If you have a child that is just learning to write, a hand-written thank-you note is a lovely way to show their teacher that their writing lessons are paying off. 

  • A classroom compilation – Ask the other parents or students in your class to write small thank-yous and compile them in a book. It will serve as a touching, thoughtful resource for your teacher to turn to after long days. 
  • An artistic creation– If you’re thinking about sending a thank-you note to a teacher in a creative discipline like art or writing, try engaging in the medium that they teach in. Have your child draw a picture of a favorite moment in the classroom or write an acrostic poem of the teacher’s name. 

Send Self-Care

Teachers constantly focus their attention on the well-being, growth, and safety of their students. Due to long days in the classroom and weekends filled with lesson planning, many teachers might miss out on the chance to take care of themselves. 

During Teacher Appreciation Week, show your educator that you care about their health, wellness, and work-life balance with a gift that they can use during their non-teaching hours:

  • Candles
  • Herbal tea or coffee
  • A nice bottle of wine
  • Chocolates
  • A house plant
  • A gift card to a local restaurant or food delivery service

With recent events and remote learning, teachers and school staff have spent countless hours ensuring each student is learning just as much as physical learning. Gifting simple gifts of self-care can be very appreciated. 

Stock the Class

You might have guessed that your teacher likely spent lots of time making the classroom an exciting, welcoming, and visually stimulating space for each student. But did you know that they probably spent a lot of their own money, too?

Many teachers foot the bill for their classroom supplies beyond what the school can provide, including essentials like:1

  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Whiteboard markers
  • Folders
  • Shelves
  • Bins

While some of these items may seem small and inexpensive on their own, the costs can add up. 

Plus, those decorations that make classrooms feel comfortable and customized—like reading rugs, calendars, and posters—often arrive at the personal cost of the teacher.

If you’re looking for a pragmatic way to show concern and compassion for your teacher during Teacher Appreciation Week, here’s a simple way to get started:

  • Ask them for a list – Reach out to your teacher and see if they’re comfortable sending you a list of “needs” and “wants” for around the classroom.
  • Share the list – Send out the list to the other parents in your class and ask for support in obtaining each item on the list, starting with one item per family.
  • Present the materials – Gift your teacher the donated supplies at the beginning of the week to thank them for going above and beyond.

Learn About Education Resources at Alliant International University

A teacher’s day doesn’t always end when the bell rings at 3 p.m and their job doesn’t always end at the beginning of the summer. Many teachers spend all year striving to make their classrooms and lessons as engaging, inspiring, and stimulating as possible. 

While the work may be challenging and exhausting at times, for dedicated educators, there’s nothing more rewarding than helping a generation of learners discover new possibilities and reach new horizons. 

If you feel called to empower students—and communities at large—by joining this change-making profession, come to Alliant International University. We’re thrilled to offer in-person and remote education programs for nearly every teaching dream. 

Learn more today and take the first step toward making a difference in your own classroom.


  1. Weir, Melanie. “10 Things You Didn't Realize Teachers Have to Buy with Their Own Money.” Business Insider. Business Insider, November 2, 2019.…. Accessed: December 30, 2021 

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