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Room Parent's Guide to Teacher Appreciation

If you found this post, you must be getting ready to plan some appreciation goodness for your child's teacher. YOU ARE AMAZING! Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to make your teachers feel loved.

In addition to this post, I created a free downloadable "Teacher Appreciation Week - Planning Worksheet and Checklists" for Room Parents that walks you through the entire planning process. I'll share with you my tips and tricks, and make the week as streamlined as possible. 

School-Wide Activities?


Before getting started, you need answers to the following questions:

  • Does your school PTSA (or one of the school committees) have school-wide events planned for Teacher Appreciation Week?
  • Does your school celebrate all staff members during Teacher Appreciation Week or just teachers?

I recently moved from Washington to Arizona, and for the first time, experienced a new type of Appreciation Week. The classrooms did their own thing for Teacher Appreciation Week, and the PTO (not the PTSA, also new to me) had meals catered for the staff. The meals were paid for by the PTO (no volunteers required), and I only learned about them after they shared pictures on social media at the end of the week. The Room Parent collected money for Teacher Appreciation from all the students, and that was it! I literally have no idea what the head Room Parent did for my daughter's teacher. We didn't need to do anything or bring anything from home. It was all very strange to me. I had even been on the look-out so I could help! Granted, we were a new family and arrived late in the year, but still. Appreciation is what I do!

All of this to say, check with your PTSA/PTO. All of the Appreciation Weeks I coordinate include coloring sheets, coffee, door decorations, lunch decorations... all sorts of things to make a Room Parent's job easier. That may not be the case at your school though.

 

Paying for Teacher Appreciation


Paying for Teacher Appreciation is very flexible. It can be as expensive or inexpensive as you make it. You will need some money though so your options are: 

  • Collect money at the beginning of the school year for class parties, the teacher's birthday, and Teacher Appreciation Week
  • Collect money before Teacher Appreciation Week separately
  • Don't collect any money and have parents/students bring items

It is entirely up to you. I recommend the "beginning of the school year" option, personally. At the beginning of the year, we parents are all rested and enthusiastic. We read all our emails, fill out forms, get out the door on time,  and are ON THE BALL. By the end of the school year, we are counting down the days until summer break right along with our children. You know it's true.

TIP: Do you have a student teacher? If so, Teacher Appreciation is going to be more expensive for you. They will need to be included in the weekly celebration as well.

NOT COLLECTING ANY MONEY

Let's talk about this for a second. It sounds like the easiest option, I know, but I don't recommend going this route. Teacher Appreciation needs to be inclusive and involve all the students. Imagine this scenario. You send out an email to classroom parents outlining your plan for the week. Two of the five days are: buy coffee for the teacher and bring lunch for the teacher. You ask parents to volunteer for those tasks. Of course, two parents are going to jump at that. Great! But... what about all of the other students that don't get to present the teacher with something special on those days? When you collect money from everyone, the gifts are from everyone.

EASING THE FINANCIAL BURDEN

Some families are living paycheck-to-paycheck and simply do not have the funds for anything extra. As much as they would like to contribute to Teacher Appreciation Week, it is not financially feasible. You never know if a family in your class is in that situation. If you estimate that your Teacher Appreciation will cost $100 and have 25 students in your class, instead of asking for $4, round up to $5. This will give you a buffer for those who cannot contribute. You may even consider asking for $5-10. Those that can pay more will, and you will not find yourself in the awkward position of repeatedly asking a parent for money. I'm not saying don't send out a reminder to those who haven't paid. (I am very squirrely and need reminders.) However, if you haven't received any money after your reminder, let it go. If you end up with a little bit extra, add it to your teacher's gift at the end of the week.

 

Daily Appreciation


Now the fun begins. Teacher Appreciation is THE BEST. Kindergarten and first grade are my favorite years to plan this because the littles absolutely adore their teachers.

You checked with the school PTSA/PTO and now know if they, or one of the committees, have school-wide events planned. If so, incorporate their plans into yours! If they have a lunch planned one day, bring a homemade lunch for your teacher a different day. If they are planning a breakfast one morning, bring your teacher his/her favorite coffee drink that day. You get the idea.

IDEAS

Five days of appreciation can seem daunting at first, but it's really not. I'll give you a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Every student brings one flower. Together, they will create a bouquet. 
  • Every student brings in one school supply. Compile them in a gift basket.
  • Every student colors a picture for the teacher. You can use them to decorate your classroom door. (We have adorable coloring sheets in our printable shop.)
  • Every student brings in a gift card. You create a bouquet with them.
  • Students wear their teacher's favorite color or favorite sports team
  • Bring your teacher lunch. (Let them know ahead of time!) 
  • Bring your teacher Starbucks. (Let them know ahead of time!)
  • End the week with a class gift from everyone. It could be a gift card to their favorite store or restaurant, a massage, a manicure... or something the class made together. 

  

Parent Communication


There is A LOT going on during Appreciation Week at school, and you want/need to keep everyone in the loop.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • Give plenty of lead time. Teacher Appreciation Week is celebrated nationwide (as it should be) and has official dates. Once you find out when your school is celebrating, send out a "Save the Date" to the other parents.
  • One month before: Send a reminder email about Teacher Appreciation Week. Include the details of what you have planned, money that needs to be collected, etc.
  • Daily reminders - During Teacher Appreciation Week send an email to the class parents each night and remind them about the next day's activity: bring a flower, wear red, etc.

 

It's Your Turn!


Are you feeling prepared and ready to plan a memorable week for your child's teacher?! I created a planning worksheet and checklists just for Room Parents. It will walk you through coordinating Teacher Appreciation Week activities. It has additional helpful information and lists not included in this post. You can do it!