How Dedication and Intention Make All the Difference — Lori Semke

I have always looked forward to the first week of May and hold it dear to my heart, because I loved having an excuse to celebrate and give some extra love to our hard working teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week. This year it will take place May 4-8, and this week provides the perfect reason to take some time to reflect on all of the amazing things your team has contributed to your business over the last 12 months, and although I’m sure you’ve been rewarding them all year long, now is the time to make sure you spoil them a little bit extra!

If you’re still open and operating right now, switch up what you do each day – anything from providing them with a meal, giving them small gifts that have teacher related puns on them, or asking parents to write a note of appreciation. 

With hundreds of different Teacher Appreciation Week ideas on the internet and Pinterest, you might be wondering what ideas you should incorporate into your celebration. First, consider whether your gifts are going to be provided by your admin, your parents, or a combination of the two. Next, decide on what your budget for the week is going to be, and make sure to be realistic with it (you don’t have to go crazy, there are many super inexpensive ideas out there). Lastly, choose a theme for the week if you want to and plan out your daily gift giving schedule. Once you have those pieces of your plan in place, go shopping (or send your director) and gather up everything you will need and make arrangements for your festivities! 

To help get you started and get your creativity flowing, here are a few of my favorite ideas and themes that have been a hit!

If You Give a Teacher a…

Spinning off the beloved children’s book series If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, this theme is super fun and filled with treats. Here is an example of how you can put it together in your school:

The Best Teachers in the World

Donna Jensen, Child Care Business Coach on our team, and her Admin team from The Learning Station in South Carolina put together this amazing week of food from around the world. Each day they brought in a “Destination Treat” from different countries each day.

Parent Support

This is one of the easiest and meaningful ways to get parents  involved. Child Care Success Academy member Christine Teander from AsheBridge Children’s Academy in North Carolina asked her parents to choose the days they wished to participate. To keep it fun she created a theme and gave simple gift ideas to encourage participation. This idea is so perfect to encourage positive relationships between staff and parents!

Choose a day or two (or all five) to show your teachers they are appreciated and loved. Please also consider sponsoring an item for our teachers’ brunch or snack.
      • MON: My Teachers Grow Great MINDS – Donate a new or gently used book for the classroom or a relaxing beach read.
      • TUES: My Teachers are NOTEWORTHY – Write your teacher a note to explain how she has impacted your life this year.
      • WED: My Teachers are SCENTSATIONAL – Pamper your teacher with lotion, spa items, flowers, or even something with floral print.
      • THURS: My Teachers are a TREAT – Treat your teacher to a favorite snack or beverage.
      • FRI: My Thanks are in the CARDS – Bring your teacher a gift card for her favorite restaurant or store, or surprise her with something else she’s sure to love. 

Low-Cost Puntastic Gifts

Themes are fun and they definitely help stay within your set budget.  Punny gifts are sure to keep spirits high and encourage fun. These can just be small items with a gift tag that has a fun slogan that conveys your appreciation. Here are a few of my favorite Pinterest finds:   

  • Bag of Popcorn – “Just popping in to say thanks for being amazing!”
  • Lip Balm/Chapstick – “Teacher, You are the balm.”
  • Pancake Mix/Spatula – “You are a flippin’ awesome teacher.”
  • Fanta Soda – “You are a Fanta-stic addition to our team!”
  • Starbucks Gift Card – “Thanks a Latte for being a Star!”
  • Donuts – “We Donut know what we would do with you.” 
 

If your school, like many, is closed right now you can still celebrate and engage your teaching staff by doing fun activities or fun contests together over Zoom and Facebook.

  • Zoom Painting Party: You can either drop off supplies to each teacher’s mailbox or have supplies shipped to their houses. You will need small canvases (or rocks), acrylic paint, and paintbrushes. Send a Zoom link to each team member and ask them to join you. Invite an art teacher or contact a local paint and sip business and see if they could help guide your party.
  • Themed Outfits Contest: Send your teams a list with themed outfits for the week, for example, M- Pajama Day, T- Crazy Patterns, W- Favorite Sport, T- Favorite Halloween Costume, F- Fancy Attire. Have them post a picture to your FB business page, the person with the most likes at the end of the day (or week) wins a gift card to a local restaurant or shop.
  • Catered Lunch: Order sandwiches from a local shop and deliver boxed lunches to your staff with a handwritten note of appreciation.
  • Snail Mail an appreciation gift, card, note, or picture daily to each staff member to show your thinking about them (and they still hold a special place in your heart) during this quarantine.
I hope these ideas help you bring some fun and spark laughter into the lives of your teachers during this time, and if you’re not able to celebrate in person with them that you will be able to soon enough! But most of all I hope you are all safe and healthy!



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