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6 Ways to Say Thanks On National Teacher’s Day

Teacher appreciation day


May 8 is National Teacher Appreciation Day. It’s part of a week long celebration first started in 1984 by the National Parent Teacher Association as a time to recognize outstanding educators.

When I was a kid growing up in the south, we always showed our appreciation throughout the year with homemade cards and gifts from our garden – blackberry jam, pickled okra, canned tomatoes, and if we were lucky a beautiful bouquet of roses grown in our backyard.

Today, there are many wonderful ways to recognize the teachers in your student’s life. Whether gifts are simple or elaborate, handmade or store bought, we’ve put together a list of ideas for parents and students alike. Show your teachers today and every day that their time and efforts are greatly appreciated.

1. Fine Dining! Leave the brown bag at home.

Who wouldn’t appreciate a special breakfast or luncheon? “We have a weeklong celebration at Starkville Academy,” says parent Robin Pigg. “Every student is supposed to donate $3.00 towards the celebration. Each day features something different.” The parent/teacher group provides lunch and teachers are treated to massages (by certified massage therapists) in the teacher’s lounge. Food is brought in each day by parents and sometimes community churches. Gift cards to various restaurants are also presented to teachers.


One year we asked each child to bring one flower and each teacher got a very eclectic bouquet!

— Charlene Campeaux Boss

“We have a committee that puts together a very nice luncheon for the high school teachers,” says Anne Garraway, a parent with students at Mary, Queen of Peace in Mandeville, LA. “The very best gift was when someone cooked dinner (spaghetti and meatballs, dessert, garlic bread, and tea) and delivered it to the school for teachers to take home. It was so nice not to have to rush home and cook one night!”

2. Social Media

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but imagine a teacher’s reaction when students use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, and YouTube to express their gratitude.

  • Create a private Facebook page for students and parents to post positive comments, special memories, photos, and words of thanks to their teacher.
  • Use Instagram to post a picture of your class holding a thank you sign.
  • Be a YouTube sensation! Get the class in on the act. Create a video letting their teachers know how they’ve influenced the class. Have students talk about their goals for the future. Put their words to music and dance!
  • Design a Pinterest board. Share a collection of  photos, quotes, etc., that show all the ways your teacher has made a difference in your life.
  • Tweet your thanks during National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 6-12! The National Education Association wants you to use the #ThankATeacher hashtag to join others to honor teachers across the nation. Tweet a picture of you and your favorite teacher (past or present) or post a picture of you holding a sign with a message thanking your teacher. Remember to use #ThankATeacher!
  • Direct your own Vine video! Six seconds is all it takes to tell your teachers how much you appreciate them again and again and again!

3. Gift Cards, Gift Baskets, and Other Personalized Gifts

Thanks to the wonders of digital cameras and fast printing services, there’s still time to come up with some great unique gifts. One year, I took a class photo, and uploaded it to Walgreen’s. I used the photo to make a card and also a neck tie for my daughter’s teacher. The tie was a pattern of the class photo repeated multiple times. Not only did the teacher like it, but he said his mom did too! From coffee mugs and trays, to scarves and blankets, you can find some thoughtful gifts.

Jaclin Szafraniec McGuire celebrated National Teacher Appreciation Day a little early one year. McGuire, a new mom and Journalism/English teacher in Chicago received a Pandora bracelet from her yearbook staff at a surprise baby shower. “Imagine that,” says McGuire. “Seventeen 17-year-olds throwing a wonderful baby shower and thinking to get me a baby charm and the bracelet! It was one of the most unique gifts I ever received.”

Not sure exactly what to get? A group gift basket is a great way to go. Have the students bring in a copy of their favorite book or chip in a dollar or two for a gift card from iTunes, Amazon, or a local bookstore. Add in a certificate to Starbuck’s, some sunscreen, and a towel, and your teacher is ready for the summer break! Want to treat them to a night on the town? Have students bring in certificates towards a restaurant or movie theater. If the teacher has children, offer to babysit for free!

4. Tried and True- Thank You Notes and Flowers

“Our students write personal thank you notes to their teachers,” says Charlene Campeaux Boss, a parent of two and a business manager for St. Joseph Catholic School in Richardson, TX. “Teachers say that’s always special. One year we asked each child to bring one flower and each teacher got a very eclectic bouquet!”

A student’s show of appreciation doesn’t require a big expense. Having each student bring in one flower makes it a great group experience. Send in that extra vase from home and a few extra flowers just in case someone forgets. Or, let the kids know they can make flowers from tissue paper and pipe cleaners. Encourage students to present flowers one at a time with a special word of thanks.

Another easy way for students to express thanks as a class is to purchase a set of index cards connected with a ring. Put your student in charge and have them ask each of their classmates to write something nice about the teacher. What do they like about the teacher or the class? Write about a special experience or memory. Add in a few motivational quotes and some selfie’s. Use a group photo as your cover and present it to the teacher.

5. Awards and Certificates

Everyone appreciates a certificate acknowledging hard work. The National PTA offers customizable certificates on their website. Take it a step further and nominate your teacher for local, state, and national awards. Many educational organizations have award programs, including the  National Teachers Hall of Fame. Search the web for local and state sponsored awards. For example, Illinois has the Golden Apple Award. Clay Emerson, a father of two in Indianapolis, says his son’s teacher recently won the Indiana Teacher of the Year award and went to the White House to be honored by President Obama. “The students started the process.”

6. In the News

Let everyone know how much you appreciate your teachers. Place an ad in your school’s fundraiser program, your local paper, or your church bulletin. No matter what you do for your teachers, remember, it’s the thought that counts! Let your teachers know you are thinking of them this week and year-round.

How do you honor the teachers in your student’s life? Share your great ideas to inspire others to recognize their teachers. Better yet, tell us all about the outstanding educators in your life!

Since 2007, NobleHour has proven to be the volunteer management solution for organizations across the nation. With its robust online platform, NobleHour enhances community engagement with a variety of innovative and transformative tools for finding, tracking, and measuring volunteer, service‐learning, and community service initiatives. With offices in Lakeland, FL, and Portland, OR, the NobleHour team is dedicated to empowering good in communities across the country.


By NobleHour Special Contributor:

Dolly Duplantier
Consultant, NobleHour
Contributing Writer / Blogger
Public Relations and Communications
Greater Chicago Area

Dolly Duplantier is a freelance writer, editor, and social media specialist. She is the mother of three children, one college graduate, one in college, and one in high school. Writing about people and organizations making a difference is one of the best aspects of her job!