Teacher Appreciation Week Is Underway, Don't Forget to Say 'Thanks'

“Teacher Appreciation Week is an opportunity to share the praise and appreciation that teachers deserve every day.” -Arne Duncan, United States Secretary of Education

This week (May 7 – May 11) is Teacher Appreciation Week. It provides us, as Secretary Duncan states above, with the opportunity not only to reflect on how teachers have impacted our lives, but also to share that appreciation with them. Secretary Duncan goes on to state that this week also offers us the chance to reflect on ways to increase the value and effectiveness of teachers.

Undoubtedly people will spend time this week talking about what improvements can be made in education: teacher preparedness, teacher evaluations, school culture, education financing, and a host of other issues. Almost a year ago, I reflected on why I thought teachers’ jobs would be made more efficient – and effective – if they had assistants.

Although now would be an excellent time to have these policy debates, I’d rather do something else. Instead, I just want to say, “thank you.”

That’s right, I want to step back from the debates and just thank our teachers. As a former teacher, I know how hard it is to go into a school – a classroom – everyday and be patient, loving, just, knowledgeable, and engaging. That, on top of all of the other meetings and bureaucratic tasks. However, after a tough day – or week, month, career – a word or sign of appreciation goes a long way for raising morale and keeping teachers encouraged.

I just sent one of my former teachers a “thank you” Facebook message. That’s right, a Facebook message. Tweet them. Email them. Take an Instagram picture of a handmade sign showing you care. Make a PowerPoint presentation outlining how they changed your life. Generate excel-powered graphs to demonstrate how you’ve grown since their tutelage. Make a YouTube video. Upload a song on Soundcloud. You get the point.

We’re millennials! No need to drop by the old school (especially if you’re busy job hunting – again, we’re millennials). If you’re feeling old fashioned, grab your iPhone and call them (using FaceTime, of course).

A quick virtual “check in” would be a great way to show your teacher that you appreciate all they did for you—even if you’re far away! Chances are – if you’re like me, at least – you would not have gotten nearly as far without them. And your teacher – again, if they’re like me – will appreciate the gesture.