Kids of all ages bring their teachers new coffee mugs and boxes of chocolates to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, celebrated May 5-11 this year.
As a fourth grade teacher, I can tell you that we truly love those thoughtful gestures. But if you're looking for new ideas this year, here are five things teachers really want:
1. Letters from students
When both current and former students show their appreciation to me, it means the world. I keep a box of letters that students have written to me throughout the years that remind me why I am in this profession.
When I am having a tough day, I pull those letters out and read them and remember that I am making a difference in so many lives. Those letters have been a life saver for me and I wouldn't trade them for all the coffee mugs in the world.
2. Letters from you
Sometimes it feels like we only hear from parents when there is an issue. During Teacher Appreciation Week -- or any week of the year -- take time to send a letter of appreciation or an email that says thank you to your child's teacher.
Sometimes teachers just need to know that parents understand and appreciate everything we do. We want to hear the positive and not just the negative. Please reach out. We love to hear from you. Our administrators would love to hear something positive about us too!
3. Nominate your child's teachers for awards
There is no greater honor than being nominated for an award. When parents take the time to recognize teachers for their efforts by sending in a nomination, it makes us feel like we are really doing something right. It is a real boost -- even if we don't win!
4. Give a gift of classroom supplies
Teachers spend so much of their own money on classroom supplies and most are not reimbursed. That means the countless pencils, paper, dry-erase markers, erasers, glue, tissues, etc. we go through in our classrooms are often purchased with money out of our own pockets. We also spend a lot of our money on things to make learning more fun and make our classrooms beautiful for your kiddos to spend their day in. If you are going to spend the money on us -- we would love some supplies!
5. Coffee - lots and lots of coffee
Have you ever spent an entire week in a classroom of kids? Trust me. We need caffeine.
Nicole Zawidski is a teacher and the publisher of Macaroni Kid Bethlehem, Pa.