17 Ideas To Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week (2023)
May 8, 2023 7:47 AM
May 8, 2023
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Teacher Appreciation Week is celebrated during the first full week of May — in 2023, it’s celebrated from Monday, May 8 through Friday, May 12. This annual week-long celebration is an opportunity to show teachers they are valued, appreciated, and deserving of more support.
Parents, students, administrators, and community members alike often use Teacher Appreciation Week as an opportunity to celebrate and honor educators who have made an impact on the lives of students, but it’s also a great occasion to improve the lives of teachers, too.
Ahead of Teacher Appreciation Week, we spoke with Sheryl Lee Ralph at TED Conference in Vancouver — that’s right, the Broadway legend who plays Ms. Barbara Howard on the hit sitcom “Abbott Elementary.” (She’s just as delightful in person, we promise.)
Ralph spoke in her 2023 TED Talk about the power of believing in oneself, but we were curious: How can we let our teachers know we believe in them, too?
"Show up and give support to your teachers ... How is it that every day we can give teachers our greatest natural resource — our children's brains — and not think they deserve more of everything?" — Sheryl Lee Ralph (Ms. Barbara Howard on Abbott Elementary)
“Show up and give support to your teachers,” Ralph told Good Good Good in an interview. “Please, respect the teachers. Pay them the money that they deserve. How is it that every day we can give teachers our greatest natural resource — our children’s brains — and not think they deserve more of everything?”
Take it from Ms. Howard herself; Teacher appreciation is important — vital, even — but it’s the first step in building a world where educators are supported, cherished, and funded wholeheartedly.
While it’s important to uplift teachers every single day, it’s helpful to have somewhere to start. We’ve created a guide on how to meaningfully celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week this year.
By the way, some of the links in this article (like books!) are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!
Activities and Ideas: How To Recognize Teacher Appreciation Week
Read books about education and educators.
A great way to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week is to add some helpful books about education, teaching, and learning to your shelf. Consider using one of these in your book club this month as a way to discuss with others!
“Because of a Teacher: Stories of the Past to Inspire the Future of Education” by George Couros (Bookshop) (Amazon)
“The Teachers: A Year Inside America’s Most Vulnerable, Important Profession” by Alexandra Robbins (Bookshop) (Amazon)
“Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom” by bell hooks (Bookshop) (Amazon)
“The Power of Their Ideas: Lessons for America from a Small School in Harlem” by Deborah Meier (Bookshop) (Amazon)
“Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education” by Lou Aronica and Ken Robinson (Bookshop) (Amazon)
“The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System — and How to Fix it” by Natalie Wexler (Bookshop) (Amazon)
Subscribe to podcasts by and about teachers.
We’ll let you in on a little secret: The best way to learn about the experiences of educators is to listen to educators. We know — shocker.
In the age of podcasting, you’re in luck. There are so many amazing shows that provide insights into teaching and its intersections with all other aspects of life (like race, class, mental health, or creativity!) Here are a few to add to your list:
While a short and sweet message can carry a big amount of significance, it’s still important to be thoughtful and intentional. (Feel free to take inspiration from our teacher affirmations article.)
Give specific examples of how a teacher has made a difference in your life, connect over a shared memory — or hey, even break out the fancy eco-friendly stationery for the special occasion.
Give your teachers a gift card.
While Pinterest is indeed full of fun, cute crafts for Teacher Appreciation Week, sometimes the most impactful gift you can give is a gift card — so teachers can spend money how they’d like.
Coffee shop gift cards are always great, but they’ve kind of become the modern-day apple; kind, but not always unique. If you’re short on time, it still shows you care, but if you’re able, try thinking outside of the box!
Really consider what would make the teacher in question feel seen and appreciated. (You can even send your kids on a super-secret mission to ask their teacher about their favorite interests or stores!)
Consider something universal and helpful, like a gift card to a grocery or department store, or even a gas station — or get specific and target a teacher’s hobbies, interests, or needs (if I were a teacher, I’d probably want a Chewy gift card to feed my obsession of buying things for my dog, for example).
Explore Teacher Appreciation Week gift ideas.
Like we said, shopping for gifts teachers actually want is the key to a meaningful present (that means no more coffee mugs). Plus, we’re pretty positive most parents don’t have hours to spend creating an elaborate craft out of No. 2 pencils.
So, here are a few gift ideas that tap into a teacher’s real wants and needs, all while helping busy parents along the way:
Simple Individual Gifts:
Gift cards to local cafes, restaurants, or lunch spots
A donation to a cause or charity close to your teacher’s heart
Bigger Group Gifts:
A fancy new desk chair
Classroom items, like a new bookshelf, reading nook furniture, or decor items
Bonus idea: If you’re involved in the school community or part of the PTA, consider making a directory or spreadsheet with gift ideas or favorites for each teacher in the school. Digital forms make this super easy and can help you find personalized gifts for next year!
These can include additional instructional supplies like pencils, markers, or notebooks — or care items like tissues, hand sanitizer, or cleaning products.
If you’re a parent, or just a community member who cares about teachers (and their students!), consider donating classroom supplies. Check out a teacher’s Amazon wish list, or just ask what they could use more of.
Something as small as a box of crayons or some granola bars can truly make a huge difference.
Consider past teachers.
If you have the means, consider continuing to support the teachers who made a difference in your or your kids’ lives in the past with a small token of appreciation. We’re sure they’ll feel extra special that you thought of them again this year.
Consider other educators.
There are so many amazing individuals who contribute to a school community.
During Teacher Appreciation Week, make sure you include secretaries, paraprofessionals, teaching assistants, elective teachers, music teachers, coaches, administrators, counselors, janitors, or cafeteria teams who have made an impact.
3. Take Action
Donate to nonprofits that support teachers.
Beyond our own classroom experiences, teachers around the country — and around the globe — need our support to continue providing safe, meaningful, and inclusive educational experiences to students of all backgrounds.
Here are a few organizations dedicated to teachers and education that could use a little love:
Along with all the other regular stressors teachers face, putting educators at the helm of these issues keeps them from doing what they do best: Teaching their students.
Along with the very obvious need to advocate for policies that financially support teachers, it’s also important to advocate against policies that make their jobs even harder — or potentially put them and their students in harm’s way.
Whether it’s showing up to school board meetings, calling your elected officials, or testifying before your state legislature, teachers need your help to make schools a better and safer place.
Show your support for teachers by volunteering or joining the PTA.
The best gift you can give a teacher? Taking some work off their plate. If you’re a parent or community member with some time on your hands, see if you can volunteer regularly to support your teachers.
From making copies or hanging bulletin boards, to helping lead small groups or facilitate spelling tests, your work shows teachers (and your own kiddos!) that you care.
You can also consider joining parent groups like a PTA or PTO to help coordinate more teacher appreciation initiatives, activities, or fundraisers.
Make your teachers’ lives easier.
Even if you don’t have a lot of time to give to a special group like the PTA, or even if you’re a student or administrator, there are so many little acts of kindness you can do to make a teacher’s life easier.
If you’re an administrator, you could consider turning a meeting into an email (if possible), allowing a jeans-free-for-all dress code during the week, or even host an open forum for teachers to discuss their needs and wants, and see what you can do.
Students can contribute by cleaning up the classroom, coming in before or after school to arrange activities for the day, or just be on their extra best behavior.
Think about the best days you’ve had in a classroom; what made it the best? How can you do your part to help your teachers do their very best jobs?
If you work at a school as an administrator or another role — or you’re a parent who can request to come into school outside of normal hours — consider the ways you can do your part to celebrate teachers:
Decorate classroom doors.
At the start of Teacher Appreciation Week, throw your teachers a mini individual “we appreciate you!” party by decorating their classroom doors. Go all out with the themes, colors, and symbols they love most — but just be sure to clean up by the end of the week, so they don’t have to.
Better yet? Go undercover and ask students (or other parents) to write some reasons they love and appreciate their teachers and use them as decorations, too.
Create a Teacher Appreciation Week theme.
Whether you plan a special theme for each day of Teacher Appreciation Week, or go all-out with a theme for the whole week, this can be a fun way to plan events, brainstorm decorations, give special gifts, or execute small surprises throughout the week.
A few ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week themes include:
You’re A Star (think: celestial, space, or Hollywood)
Major League Appreciation (think: sports)
Teachers Are Real Heroes (think: superheroes)
You Deserve Some R&R (think: self-care or spa-related activities)
We Couldn’t Have Picked A Better Teacher (think: flowers, apples, picnics)
5. Post on Social Media
Follow teachers on social media.
The power of social media is not to be underestimated. With such a recent, quick pivot to digital learning opportunities, social media has become a space for teachers to share meaningful insights to their work, lives, and classrooms.
Find a diverse bunch of teachers to follow on social media, and let yourself learn a little more every day — even if you haven’t done algebra in decades.
After you’ve shared your hand-written thank you note or catered a yummy meal for your teachers, it’s helpful to remember that a public act of appreciation also goes a long way.
Do you have a story of a teacher who made an impact on your life many moons ago? (We’re sure you do.)
Do you have an anecdote about a time your child’s teacher saved the day? (We’re sure you do.)
Do you have a gallery of first-day-of-school memories that are that much more special when you think of the teacher at the front of the classroom? (We’re sure you do.)
Take Teacher Appreciation Week as an opportunity to share those stories, thank a teacher who paved the way for your future, and honor those who continue to uplift and encourage our young people every day.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is Teacher Appreciation Day?
Teacher Appreciation Day (sometimes called National Teacher Day) typically occurs on the first Tuesday in May — or the Tuesday of Teacher Appreciation Week — every year. In 2023, however, Teacher Appreciation Day falls on Tuesday, May 2, the week leading up to Teacher Appreciation Week.
Teacher Appreciation Day Dates
Is Teacher Appreciation Week the same every year?
Teacher Appreciation Week is usually celebrated in the first full week of May every year. In 2023, Teacher Appreciation Week will take place between May 8 and May 12. The week-long celebration has been recognized since the National PTA established the event in 1985.
In 2024, Teacher Appreciation Day will take place between May 6 to May 10. Since 1984, Teacher Appreciation Week has always taken place the first full week of May.
Teacher Appreciation Week Dates
Monday, May 8
Friday, May 12
Monday, May 6
Friday, May 10
Monday, May 5
Friday, May 9
Monday, May 4
Friday, May 8
Monday, May 3
Friday, May 7
Monday, May 8
Friday, May 12
How much should you give for Teacher Appreciation Week?
It’s always up to you, your relationship with a teacher, and your personal financial situation to give a token of appreciation from the heart. However, most individual teacher appreciation gifts range between $20 and $50. Group gifts can be between $50 and $150, depending on the teacher or the gift.
Why is Teacher Appreciation Week in May?
There doesn’t seem to be a specific reason why Teacher Appreciation Week occurs in May. However, National Teacher Day used to take place on March 7, until 1985, when it was moved to May to accompany Teacher Appreciation Week, as per the campaigning of the National PTA.
Is Teacher Appreciation Week capitalized?
Teacher Appreciation Week is capitalized — not only because it follows English grammar rules for proper nouns, but it also conveys the unique nature of the event. By capitalizing the title, we emphasize the week-long celebration of educators and their critical role in fostering intellectual growth and shaping the future of countless individuals.
May 8-12 is Teacher Appreciation Week! Here are some ideas to celebrate.