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Teacher Appreciation Week 

Why Educators Deserve our Recognition and How to Show it to them

Guides & Resources / April 28, 2024
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Teacher Appreciation Week is a national recognition week aimed at showing gratitude to educators. This holiday typically takes place during the first full week in May. Spring is a busy time for education, thus this is an extra important time to show care and appreciation for teachers. 


Why Teacher Appreciation Week Exsist

The United States has long acknowledged the importance of recognizing teachers and their efforts. Former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt campaigned for Congress to create a national holiday for teachers, starting in the 1950s. While it didn’t immediately come to fruition, the origins of Teacher Appreciation Week occurring in May, began in the 1980s. From there, The National Parent-Teacher Association would organize the celebration of teachers starting the first full week of May. 


Why Teacher Appreciation Week Matters

While teachers provide an invaluable societal good, many teachers don’t receive proportionate gratitude for their work. In 2023, a research study found that less than 25% of teachers feel valued by society. With teachers being so pivotal to a foundational service, it’s essential to address this gap in felt appreciation. Acknowledging the value of educators supports teacher retention and can enhance the outcomes of the teachers. The American Psychological Association Study found a correlation between being valued at work and performance outcomes. If we want to see students succeed, we must retain the most impactful teachers, and to do so, we must communicate their value to them. This means providing them with instructional guidance, adequate compensation, and materials so they can stay and be successful in the classroom. This also includes directly communicating appreciation for the work teachers do! 

Teachers get to see the gains their students make throughout the year. However, they don’t always get to see the impact they make on students and the education system as a whole. Taking the time to communicate with them the impact they have made is highly meaningful. There is a lot of work that goes into teaching that often goes unnoticed and someone taking the time to notice the effort goes a long way. 

Additionally, gratitude and appreciation would be a good place to start if we want teachers to be retained. The U.S. Department of Education estimates that 50% of teachers leave within 5 years of entering the teaching profession. With high teacher vacancies nationally, it’s more important than ever to retain the teachers we do have in the field. 


The Impact that Gratitude has on Teachers

Each educator has their own experience with teacher appreciation. For many, the words leave an impact beyond the candy, candles, or gift cards. Many teachers have a bulletin board, folder, or drawer where they stock the momentos and notes from students and families that they have impacted. Hearing how you make a difference on students is meaningful! One of our teachers shared that, “Reading them filled up my heart.” Teachers often join the profession because they want to make a difference. Receiving validation that your efforts are making a difference has a big impact. 

Below are some notes from students our teachers have received. Note that names and identifiable information have been removed for privacy. 


Beyond the Week: The Benefits of Teacher Appreciation 

While Teacher Appreciation Week is an important time to show your gratitude for educators, it’s not the only crucial time to show support for teachers. For example, October is notoriously a tricky month. So much so that the decrease in enthusiasm and increase in curriculum difficulty that comes each October has been dubbed “The October Slump”. Every month throughout the school year has its own unique joys and challenges. In August there is excitement with the new year but also a rush of administrative tasks as the school year begins. Spring brings new energy to the work but there also is state testing. Every time of year is a good time to communicate the impact that teachers are having on their students and communities. 


How to Get Involved in Teacher Appreciation Week

When you begin planning for how to show appreciation for teachers this year, start with your community. Parent Teacher Associations or local organizations may have organized efforts to show appreciation to teachers. For example, The Educator Academy is raising emergency funds for teachers in their network. These funds help retain individuals with financial needs who otherwise might not persist in the profession. Additionally, schools may collect funds to give as a thank-you to teachers or supplies for their classrooms. 

Purchasing gifts can be expensive, especially if you have multiple teachers in your life. If you have multiple children who all have multiple teachers, the cost can be exponential! For example, if you have four students who are all in middle and high school with 7 teachers each, you could be looking at getting a gift for 28 teachers. Even if you only spent $5 per teacher, you would rack up $140! Spending money on gifts isn’t always a practical option. Teachers understand these realities and aren’t expecting you to break the bank on them. There are many low and no-cost ways to show teachers your support. 


Support Education this Teacher Appreciation Week 

Teacher Appreciation Week is a great opportunity to show your support for educators and education as a whole. Whether you have zero or 100 teachers in your life, there are a variety of steps you can take to show your appreciation. While you can purchase gifts, it’s not necessary. You can make your small contributions amplified in impact by purchasing gift cards, donating to a teacher on a platform like DonorsChoose or donating to an education organization like The Educator Academy to make your small dollars go farther. 


Thinking of Becoming a Teacher? 

Whether you are looking to become a teacher, or are already in the classroom, The Educator Academy can help. We exist to sustain empowered educators in creating equitable classroom experiences for all students. Send us a message to receive more support for your next step in education!