1. Plan a teachers breakfast or lunch. Ask local coffee shops, restaurants and supermarkets to provide product or a discount, and ask parents to pitch in.
2. Donate a new coffeemaker, microwave, or other gift to the teachers’ lounge. Ask parents for a small monetary donation if necessary.
3. Little things make a difference. Get a list of teacher birthdays from the school secretary and tuck birthday cards into teacher mailboxes. If it’s possible, include small gift certificates donated by nearby restaurants and retail stores.
4. Ask students to write what they love about their teacher on leaves made from green construction paper, and assemble a “Thank You” tree in a place where everyone can appreciate it.
5. Give teachers special treats like candy with personal messages of thanks. For instance, you can order M&M candy in your school colors and with a personalized message of thanks.
6. There are many online resources that allow you to personalize mugs, shirts, and other items. School apparel, water jugs, and coffee cups make wonderful gifts and promote school spirit too!
7. Talk to local merchants and get donations of gift certificates or discount coupons. Some businesses will even provide gift baskets at holidays or on teacher appreciation day.
8. Get students to create artwork or write letters about why their teachers are great. Assemble these letters and art and use them to decorate during teacher appreciation day/week.
9. Order printed tote bags with the school logo and fill them with a new planner, professional books, sweet treats, and other goodies.
10. Take care to notice times when teachers are going the extra mile to help a student, colleague or parent. Drop a small note in their mailbox to let them know you appreciate their dedication.
11. Take the time to support those who are having a hard time professionally or personally. Showing that you support and care about your teachers can be more important than any gift.
12. Above all, remember that teachers deserve to be appreciated and recognized for all that they do every day of the year, not just on special occasions. Little things make a big difference!
For more information about conflict education and caring communities, see Susan Fitzell’s book, Free The Children, Conflict Education for Strong and Peaceful Minds. Available in both print and electronic versions!