Celebrate the teachers in your life

National Teacher Day

“The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth.” — Dan Rather

On May 6, we honor our teachers on National Teacher Day. It’s a week to thank our teachers, past and present, and think about all the ways they touched our lives.

Some of my most memorable teachers were also the toughest. Thank you, Ms. Foster, who juggled a combined fifth and sixth grade class, who taught us about money (by setting up the Foster Bank) and gave us daily writing assignments. I remember writing “serial” stories with daily cliffhangers that took the whole week to finish. Thank you, Mr. Tiffany, who taught speech class with passion and precision (and volume). Thank you, Mrs. Woliver, who had so much creativity and enthusiasm about writing. She asked us to keep a dream journal and had us write conversations with our body (I thought it was odd at the time) and significant people (like Shakespeare). Thank you, Ms. Powers, my AP English teacher, who had high expectations and set high standards for our work. I was happy to survive her class.

I don’t remember thanking my teachers when I was a student, but I try to make sure that my son thanks his teachers. Here are some of the teacher appreciation projects that my son and I worked on over the past few years:

Teacher Appreciation Gifts

 

* Appreciation notes. In Kindergarten, he wrote small notes for his teacher. “I like your class!” he wrote, and “I like your attention.” He decorated the notes with stickers and we bound it into a booklet.

 

* All bout my teacher. In First Grade, he filled out a “survey” about his teacher and even drew a picture of her. “My teacher is smart and cool,” he praised. “She taught me a lot about math.”

 

* Acrostic poem. In Second Grade, he wrote an acrostic poem with his teacher’s name. It was more challenging, but we brainstormed about words to describe his teacher, his classroom, and his favorite subjects. It began:
Mrs. J. is a good teacher!
Read everything, she says,
So we know what to do.

If you’re looking for more inexpensive and crafty ideas, check out Spoonful’s “26 Gift Ideas to Thank a Teacher” (one of my favorites is the “Thanks a latte” card) and Skip to My Lou’s “Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas” (I especially like the “You’re the best SUB ever!” with Subway gift card idea).

Who were your favorite teachers? Which teachers had the biggest impact on your life? What do you wish you could tell them?

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