Get to work at 8 a.m.; have fun with children all day – reading, doing some math, talking about science; sit down for a nice lunch that someone else makes; and then out the door at 3pm. Oh! And, then there is all of that time off – early release, late start, holidays, SUMMER.
A teacher’s job is so easy, right? Not so fast – a typical teacher’s day looks more like this…
Get to work at 6:30 a.m. to make sure everything is organized and settled for the day before 25 students walk in the door. Perhaps you really only have a few minutes to yourself before you need to head to the bus line to welcome students to school because you have morning duty. Once the bell rings and instruction starts (usually around 7:30 a.m.), your child’s classroom teacher is TEACHING.
Teachers have to be experts about many subjects. They have academic standards to follow in addition to district mandated programs. Your child’s teacher does this in what sometimes must feel like a waiting room of sorts – students are coming and going all day long, being pulled out throughout the day for various services like Speech, Resource, Social Skills, as well as, Gifted and Talented programs.
Lunch seems like it might be a good time to relax, but your child’s teacher is actually up and walking around (depending on the grade level), making sure students get their milk and ketchup open, and that they actually eat something to sustain them for the rest of the day.
After school, there is planning to be done for the next day, as well as meetings with administration, other teachers, and parents. Sometimes there are classes to take for professional development. Many of the teachers I know do not get home until 6 p.m. (on a good day!). And, during the time “off,” teachers are in meetings, going to conferences, planning, and reading for professional development. Teachers are doing all of this and then tending to their own families and responsibilities outside of the school.
Your child’s teacher works HARD. And, they LOVE what they do. Your child’s teachers love your children as much as you do. They want what is best for them and they truly pour everything they have into what they do each day. It is their life’s work and they are passionate about it.
Teacher Appreciation Week is the first full week in May (check your district/district to ensure dates), and if you’ve stuck with me this far, you know that they need to feel appreciated! It also happens to be the second week of state wide testing in South Carolina, so your child’s teacher can use a little “pick me up” this week more than ever!
I asked a group of elementary school teachers what the best gift is that they ever received and they all said GIFT CARDS. According to Time Magazine, teachers spend an average of $500 of their own money each year on items for the classroom.
Here are some suggestions of places to go for gift cards for teachers that will help them feel appreciated and may also help their wallets:
- Target – Who does not love Target? Not only are they likely to find something for themselves at Target, but there are school supplies, lots of educational puzzles and toys, and storage ideas for the classroom.
- Walmart – Sort of like Target, but better? Teachers can use Walmart Grocery to purchase groceries and supplies for their own family – and not even have to get out of the car to pick it up.
- Pizza – Little Ceasers, Domino’s, Marcos, etc. – it really does not matter, but a gift card to a place that sells pizza is great for teachers. They can choose to use it for their own family or as a reward for their classroom.
- Office supplies – Office Depot, Staples = a wonderland for teachers.
- Spa services – Teachers deserve a little pampering … consider a gift card to a place that offers massage, manicures, pedicures, etc.
- Amazon – Amazon has EVERYTHING. Books, office supplies, carts (teachers love carts and bags), food.
- Learning Express – Learning Express has the best educational toys. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning fun and this is an awesome place to browse and pick up cool things for the classroom.
- Educational Wonderland – Like Learning Express, but geared towards teachers.
- Bookstore – Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble, and the like. All teachers need books for their classroom. A gift card to a bookstore will allow them to pick out what is appropriate and needed for their classroom.
- Don’t have money for a gift card? Show your appreciation with TIME. Come in for a read aloud. Email the teacher to see if you can sort papers, get something laminated, or make copies. Maybe your school will let you sit with the class during lunch or recess so that your child’s teacher can have a quick break. Write a letter expressing your thanks for all of the work your child’s teacher does. You do not have to spend a lot of money (or any money) to make someone feel appreciated!
Elementary schools often do a good job of letting families know about Teacher Appreciation Week. But, don’t forget to do something for your child’s teacher, even if they are in middle school or high school! ALL teachers work hard and deserve to be recognized for what they do!