Every year, Teacher Appreciation Week is celebrated during the first full week of May. During Teacher Appreciation Week, there is an outpouring of acknowledgement and gratitude around the country for all that teachers do. Teachers go to great lengths to help everyone in his or her class, purchasing school supplies, bringing their work home with them, and providing emotional support to struggling students. We asked different teachers what they love most about teaching, and the different resources that can be utilized to support teachers. 

For many teachers, their favorite part of being a teacher is watching their students develop over the course of the school year. “My favorite part about being an educator is watching children grow, both in knowledge and in character,” shared Susan Kornicki, a K-12 technology coordinator and former 6th grade teacher in the Glassboro School District.

Kelly Preston, kindergarten teacher in the Prairie Grove Consolidated School District, shared similar sentiments. “I love seeing my students grow and learn throughout the year; you literally see them maturing and learning before your eyes, and it’s great to know that you contributed to their growth.”

Perhaps the greatest feeling for teachers is knowing that they have had a lifelong impact on their students. “I love it when students tell me that something I’ve taught them or helped them with has stuck with them over the years,” said Preston. “Students will often visit me years later and remind me of something I taught them, whether it pertained to school or your personal life. It’s the most amazing experience to find out that your student actually took your advice, and that it’s benefited them in a positive way.”

“I like the priceless moments and the impact I have on these kids, especially when they enter my classroom and give me the biggest hugs and smiles,” said Melanie Macaso, first steps teacher at the Goddard School in Chicago. “When they give me those hugs and smiles, it tells me that they trust me and that I’m doing something right. That’s all the validation I need.”

For Susan Kornicki, outreach from her former students is one of the most amazing parts of being a teacher. “I find that my most cherished memories are those where a former student returns to let me know, perhaps even years later, that I have had a meaningful and positive influence; turning a non-reader into an avid reader, inspiring a future teacher, or just being that reliable and trusted adult in a time of crisis. For Susan’s last year as a classroom teacher, her students wrote messages to her sharing the impact she has had on them.

A simple act of kindness from a teacher can make a student’s entire experience, as evidenced by some of the messages Susan’s students shared with her. “You helped me get through 6th grade”, “thank you for making 6th grade easy and comfortable”, and “you did everything you possibly could to make this year special” are just some of the amazing messages Susan received.

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Here are a few great ways to show your support for educators:

Donate to AdoptAClassroom.org - AdoptAClassroom.org allows teachers to fundraise for necessary classroom items. Their Ways To Give page allows you to see different fundraising campaigns, and shows you how to donate to their annual fund.

Help provide supplies - many of us have extra scissors, pencils, pens, and other supplies that we do not need. As many teachers pay for these supplies themselves, donating these items can save teachers a great deal of money. It can also be helpful to coordinate supply donations with other parents.

Make sure your child is prepared -  if you have a child in school, making sure they are prepared for the school day can help your child's teacher tremendously. What steps can you take to make sure your child is prepared? Get them to class on time, ensure that they get a good night's sleep, feed them a healthy breakfast, and pack them a healthy lunch.

Volunteer - volunteering your time to assist a teacher can make a world of difference, no matter how many hours you put in. Use your skills to help a teacher however you can, whether it is writing the monthly newsletter or chaperoning a field trip.

Share your gratitude -  whether you are a current student, or have long since graduated, it’s never too late to share your appreciation for the teacher/s that have impacted you. Write a letter, send an email, or make a drawing that shows your appreciation. Pinterest has some great ideas for gifts to give during Teacher Appreciation Week.

If there’s anything to take away from Teacher Appreciation Week, it’s that teachers should not just be celebrated one week of the year. Thank you to all the amazing and fearless educators out there – we truly appreciate you.