Between Election Day, parent-teacher conferences, and field trips, it always seems like things get nutty in November.
The novelty of the new year has worn off, and kids—and parents—start slowly slipping into the mid-year blues or pre-holiday anxiety.
And if things are crazy for our family, I can only imagine how difficult things can be for our teachers.
So November is a great time for us all to step back and extend a bit of thanks to those teachers with whom our children spend hours and hours each day.
I’m not saying that we need to spend a million dollars on our teachers right before the winter holidays; rather, I’m suggesting that we show teachers how much we appreciate their hard work and dedication.
We can do this in a number of ways, some of which won’t cost a cent.
Here’s the skinny. . .
5 Ways Parents Can Show Thanks for Teachers and Schools:
November is a time of giving thanks. Let’s take a minute to show our children’s teachers how very much we appreciate them and their hard work.
Show thanks to your teachers by:
- Volunteering your time to support the teacher.
Drop the teacher a quick note or email saying that you have a few extra hours this month and would like to help him or her with anything needed in the classroom. You can copy, cut, sort, organize, or clean. Anything needed.
Call the teacher or drop him or her an email like the one below:
Dear [Mr. or Mrs. Teacher],
Hi! I hope you are doing well! I just wanted to take a minute to reach out and say thank you so much for all you do for our students; [child’s name] really enjoys your class and is learning so much.
I unexpectedly have 2-3 extra hours this month that I would love to ‘donate’ to the class. If you have any copying, sorting, organizing, or cleaning you need done in the classroom, I’d be more than happy to help.
Though I will do my best to come in at a time that works best for you, right now it looks like [insert date and time] will work best for me.
Please let me know if you could use my help!
All you can do is send it. If the teacher needs a hand, you better believe that he or she will be grateful for your offer!
- Volunteering your time to support the students.
Do you feel like you’re particularly good at working with students? Let the teacher know!
Younger students and emerging readers can always use extra reading time or math-practice time. Most likely the teacher would really appreciate having an extra ‘ear’ in the classroom to listen to students as they read and work on fluency or a support for them as they work on math facts or sight words.
Want to see if it’s an option? Use the same note as above but change the second paragraph to:
I unexpectedly have 2-3 extra hours this month that I would love to ‘donate’ to the class. If you would like for me to listen to some of your struggling readers or pull small groups for sight word or math fact practice, I’d be more than happy to help.
The kids will love having an extra ‘teacher’ in the room!
- Donate small prizes or goodies to the students. Teachers often could use small prizes or goodies for their students.
If you don’t have a whole lot of time—or any!—to donate but you have a few extra bucks in your pocket, consider purchasing some stickers for the classroom.
Seasonal stickers are always a hit on student work, and most likely if the teacher had them, he or she would use them! I love these sparkly fall leaves, and I don’t even think it’s too late for the pumpkins. Pumpkins are a fall fruit, right?
Thanks to my friends at Staples, I had a few of these cute fall bookmarks and pumpkin notepads, so I put one pack each in a little plastic bag, along with the fall leaf stickers and pumpkin stickers.
With a short note saying ‘thank you’ to Maddy, Owen, and Cora’s teachers, I think this little bag of ‘goodies’ will be truly appreciated.
When I was teaching, I kept jars of ‘crazy pens’ on my desk so that my students would be more likely to want to write. It worked! Kids came charging to the desk each day to write with the monkey pen, the crazy bubble pen, or the Disney pen.
And often parents sent in cool pens to add to our collection. It was always a fun and appreciated surprise when they did! The students loved it as much as I did.
- Decorating a classroom board or area of the classroom.
Are you a crafty crafter with an eye for decorating? Give the teacher the gift of your mad artistic skills by offering to handle a classroom bulletin board or reading corner.
Ask how the teacher wants to use the area or board—to display work, to celebrate holidays, to promote a project, etc—and then offer to help.
November is such a busy month.
Taking this big element off of the teacher’s plate will be hugely helpful.
Offer to use a holiday-themed decoration like the Colorful Owls or Moose & Friends board set.
We love that each set comes with parts that can be changed according to the holiday or season.
- Decorating a PTA or school-wide board.
Everything that the PTA does directly supports the school and teachers, so your helping hand will be appreciated no matter where you can lend it.
Often PTA boards are the first boards seen when people walk into a school. And often the PTA volunteers are stretched too thinly and are running a ton of different projects.
Offer to either help with one of the projects or take over the job of managing the PTA bulletin board.
Seasonal Classroom Decorations make decorating these boards super-easy.
Maddy, Owen, Cora, and I used a Fall Holiday Decoration pack to do a hallway board in my husband’s school.
It turned out awesome.
We used the Thanksgiving Bulletin Board set and the Pumpkins borders and kept the background the same as last time—simple black. A few pieces of orange and brown construction paper added some pizazz.
Our goal with this board was to create something fun and festive but that would also encourage viewers to give thanks, and we love how it turned out.
First, we put up the pieces that came with the set: the turkey, the pilgrims, and the Native Americans.
Then we added the ‘We Are Thankful’ sign above them and the ‘I am thankful’ cut-out leaves and acorns that came with the Thanksgiving set.
Next, I printed out two copies of our simple Give Thanks Instructions.
And then I printed out about 20 copies of our little Give Thanks notes (see below) which we cut into quarters.
If you’d like to download and print the Give Thanks Instructions, sign up here:
Then we stapled some of the turkey cut-outs to the board. We didn’t staple them flush to the board; rather, we made them like little pockets.
Finally we placed our little Thank You notes into the turkey pockets, and we were finished!
An interactive thank-you board for the whole school.
And hopefully—hopefully!—one of the students will look at it while they’re walking to class and will take a minute to pull out a slip of paper, write down a quick note to a teacher or administrator, and deliver that person a little bit of thanks.
Or maybe a teacher will take the time to write a quick thank you note to a student. Or maybe an administrator will take time to say ‘thanks’ to a staff member.
Who doesn’t appreciate a little ‘thank you’ note now and again?
Want a few more giving ideas or activities? Check out:
- Best Gifts for Kids and Families 2014
- Best Gifts for Kids and Families 2013
- Best Gifts for Kids and Families 2012
- Best Gifts for Kids and Families 2011
- Holiday Fun Fact and JOKES Lunchbox Notes (with Hannukah!)
- Holiday Time Fun Fact Lunchbox Notes
- Little Holiday Notes and Jokes
- Holiday Notes for Families
- The Polar Express tradition
- Scratch-off Cards
- K-Cup Advent Tree
- New Year’s Family Interview
- Happy Holidays Backyard Birds
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