It is National Teacher Appreciation Week and today is National Teacher Appreciation Day. At the very least, I hope you will send an email to your children and teen’s teachers and say “thank you.” Rachel has been blessed with remarkable teachers. I often say that I think teaching is the highest of callings. I think most people go into teaching because they truly love and want to educate children. Rachel once had a teacher who said she was quite anxious when she found out Rachel was in her class. She had never taught a child with Down syndrome. This was the general education classroom where Rachel was a trailblazer. Oh wait? That’s still happening. Yes, IDEA was passed 40 years ago. I digress. That’s a discussion for a different blog. This teacher said that she wanted to help Rachel grow both academically and socially. She then said, “Little did I know that Rachel would also help us to grow academically and socially. She taught us that, despite what others think, we could all do amazing things. She is an amazing little girl and I am so very thankful to have had the privilege of learning from her!”
I don’t think most people go teaching for the high pay but summers off is probably inviting. I don’t think they go into because they get to deal with parents either.
I know there is a lot of discussion about teacher gifts. I also know that as our children grow up, there are more teachers to honor. If you are like me and have a child who receives special education services, you have always had more people who you want to recognize! I want to be thoughtful but I don’t want to spend a month’s pay on gifts. Once someone told me they would be embarrassed to give a teacher anything less than a $25 gift card. With seven core teachers and a resource case manager (plus therapists, paraprofessionals, counselors, social workers, etc), I cannot afford $25 gift cards so I went straight to some teachers for input. The response was that we would appreciate a $5 gift card, a hand-made thank you card, a plant or any other small token of appreciation. I thought I would share some of my ideas.
1. For the past eight years I have hosted a luncheon for Rachel’s teaching team. You will find recipes for chicken enchilada’s and Key Lime Pie in past blogs. This year, it is too difficult to get them all together for such a treat so I punted. In Middle School and elementary it was fairly easy to invite the entire team and they always loved it. The time has passed on that but if you have elementary or middle school students, you might try some version of this.
2. Plants. You can buy cute little planters at the Dollar Tree, Target or other stores. When you buy your summer plants, buy a few extra. Put it in a planter and give to the teachers.
3. Home baked treats. I have heard some teachers aren’t fans of this because they don’t know what your kitchen looks like! I would be sure it is someone you know fairly well. I often send homemade treats for the teachers for school events and I’ve never had a complaint. Rachel’s case manager loves pecan pie. Today, we delivered a homemade pecan pie to him.
4. A book. If your child has a disability, you could give them an educational book. Or if you have a favorite book that you think they would like, you can give that. Rachel loves her reading teacher. Rachel loves all her teachers but this one especially. He and I have shared some ideas about books we enjoy. One of my most favorite books and one that I think is a must for everyone to read is “Same Kind of Different As Me” by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. Rachel’s teacher told me he had not read it, so I ordered it off Amazon and she is delivering it today.
5. Handwritten notes. I believe teachers love handwritten notes. Don’t we all? This is cheating, but we also do some thank you’s on the computer with a picture of Rachel. I print this and cut them and attach a piece of candy. Some Rachel writes a little note on and others we just do the printed card and candy. This year, we attached “Grand” candy bars. In her handwritten notes she said, “you are a grand teacher.” Corny but clever. If you know their favorite candy, you could send a few pieces or a bag of that.
I helped Rachel deliver the plants this morning. They all seemed so appreciative and commented that they were so happy to get a note with her picture on it. How easy is that to do and it’s just a small way to say a big thank you! Living in such an entitled society, I think it is important to teach our children this concept of gratitude. This is a hands-on opportunity to do just that. I have so much fun watching Rachel give out her little gifts because she has such joy in giving. Well, until she told me I needed to leave.
Happy Teacher Appreciation Day. I want to take just a moment to say thank you to all the teachers I had through the years. Some are on Facebook. One in particular, Mrs. Wildman, taught me in elementary school. That’s when my love for writing was discovered. Special thanks to you Mrs. Wildman for your encouragement!