When you look back over your life, you can probably think of several teachers who shaped your experience and helped you grow into the person you are today. From the teacher who helped you understand a difficult concept, to the teacher who made learning fun, to the teacher that went out of their way to help you, there are so many reasons to thank a teacher this Teacher Appreciation Week.
Thanking a teacher doesn't have to involve an expensive gift. Sometimes, it's the little things that make someone feel special and appreciated. Whether it's a current faculty member or a grade school teacher, it's important to look back on your life with gratitude and thank those who gave of themselves so freely.
Here are 5 simple ways you can reach out and thank a teacher:
1. A heartfelt email or letter
If you can find an email address or mailing address, a heartfelt message will go a long way toward making a teacher feel great. Did your teacher make learning fun? Did they infuse their lectures with excitement? Did they lend you a book or lunch money? Let them know you appreciate it with a few meaningful words!
Even if it's been years since you've seen that special teacher, your note is sure to put a smile on their face.
2. A few words of praise
If you see a teacher on a regular basis, give them a compliment! Was one of their lectures particularly inspiring? Did they give you valuable feedback on an assignment? Did they make something difficult seem easy? There's so much power in saying thank you or giving a small word of praise! Whether it's your own teacher or the teacher teaching your children, it's those little words that will let them know that you value their contribution to your life.
3. A smile
If you see this teacher this week, let them know you're happy to see them and that their efforts are making a difference in your life and the lives of others.
4. The gift of reading material
Have you recently read a book that your teacher might find interesting? Have you read an article online about a particular topic you know they're passionate about? Did you find a cool website that's right up their alley? Send them a link, an ebook, or leave them a second hand paperback!
The simple gesture of sharing knowledge or interesting content will let a teacher know you're thinking of them. Your gift could even help them with a future lecture or help inspire them as they've inspired you!
5. Tell a story
Another way to let a teacher know you care is to share the story of how they changed your life. You don't have to be an expert writer. Sincerity is what matters, so write from the heart. Describe the moment when a social studies teacher made history exciting or recount how a quirky English teacher inspired you to start journaling. How about a gym teacher who helped you learn to love running despite your reluctance?
Whatever the story, write it down! Share your story on social media, submit it to a local newspaper, or send it directly to your teacher. Think about how amazing your teacher will feel to learn about that exact moment they shaped your learning experience. You could even go so far as to print and bind your story as a lasting momento.
Teachers are a huge part of our personal growth. There are so many reasons to reach out to a teacher and plenty of simple, inexpensive, and deeply meaningful ways to say you care. And, our teachers deserve it!