Posted tagged ‘National Teacher Day’

Celebrate the teachers in your life

May 9, 2017

Did you know that in Hawaii public schools, there are over 10,941 teachers, 170 librarians, and 602 counselors? (Hawaii 2015 Superintendent’s Annual Report, 2014-2015 School Year)

Did you know that on average, teachers work more than 52 hours a week, including 30 hours of instruction and 22 hours on tasks like preparing lessons and grading papers? (National Center for Education Statistics 2011-12 School and Staffing Survey)

Teachers give us so much, and their job is much harder than we realize. They prepare lesson plans that engage and inspire students. They find a balance between correcting mistakes and encouraging excellence. They stay after school for homework clubs and mentoring. They show up at school events in the evenings and on weekends. They make the classroom a safe place to learn, challenge assumptions, and build character.

Today is National Teacher Day, part of a week-long event celebrating the teachers in our lives. You can say “Thank You” by joining the 2017 #ThankATeacher campaign and sharing stories and photos of special teachers.

My son is completing the fifth grade this year, and I want to take a moment to thank my fifth grade teacher, Ms. Foster. She was energetic and fun and it was the year I started to see teachers as real people, outside of school. She set up a classroom economy with jobs, a bank, and even checkbooks. She gave us daily writing assignments to practice our writing skills and encourage creative writing. To this day, I remember the first verses of “Do your ears hang low?” and “I Can’t Do That Sum” that we had to recite.

If you need some inspiration, the National PTA offers a free Teacher Toolkit to personally thank teachers for making a positive impact on your life and children’s lives.

If you have children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews in school, here are 7 ways that How Can Families Effectively Partner With and Support Teachers, courtesy of the National Education Association:

  • Develop a relationship with your child’s teacher and keep in touch with him/her often
  • Ask the right questions
  • Set goals with your child and his/her teacher and foster the achievement of those goals
  • Review your child’s data to ensure he/she is on track
  • Look in your child’s backpack every day
  • Frequently view the parent portal (or whichever tool your child’s school uses)
  • Actively participate at school when possible

Which teachers had the biggest impact on your life? How will you thank a teacher today?


Teachers are real-life heroes

May 3, 2016

Teacher Appreciation Week

I recently asked my 9-year old son about his favorite teacher. I wasn’t surprised when he answered that his current teacher is his favorite (he probably has only vague memories of his earliest teachers). I was curious about what makes his fourth grade teacher the best. “She’s nice and kind,” he answered. “She has good activities. It’s her first year of teaching, and she has a lot of energy.”

For National Teacher Day on May 3, he wrote an acrostic poem for his teacher using the letters of her name. Usually I would encourage him to use adjectives, but for this poem I asked him to write about school activities that he enjoyed or specific examples of ways in his teacher was “awesome.” It was a nice way to work a little poetry into his everyday life.

Today and all week long, celebrate the inspirational teachers in your life during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 2-6, 2016. Celebrate teachers outside the classroom too – coaches, mentors, tutors, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, babysitters. Share a memory, a story, or a photo on social media with the hashtag #ThankATeacher.

Remember to thank and support teachers year-round too. The National Education Association (NEA) offers 7 tips for families to effectively partner with and support teachers:
* Develop a relationship with your child’s teacher and keep in touch with him/her often
* Ask the right questions
* Set goals with your child and his/her teacher and foster the achievement of those goals
* Review your child’s data to ensure he/she is on track
* Look in your child’s backpack every day
* Frequently view the parent portal (or whichever tool your child’s school uses)
* Actively participate at school when possible

How will you honor the teachers in your life? If you are a teacher or coach, what is the most memorable appreciation that you received?

Superheroes among us: celebrate teachers!

April 28, 2015

National Teacher Day 2015

May 1 might be the premier of “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” where the fate of the world rests in the hands of a mechanic, a spy, a scientist, a warrior, a soldier, and someone who always hits his target…

May 2 might be Free Comic Book Day, a day to discover or recapture the wonders of superheroes, super powers, and the battle of good vs. evil (just show your HSPLS library card at one of 20 Hawaii public libraries to get a free comic book)…

But there are superheroes among us every day. You don’t have to go to the movies or read about them in books. You can find them in our teachers, our coaches, and our mentors. And May 5, 2015 is National Teacher Day, a day when can show our appreciation for our teachers.

Looking back at my school days, I am grateful to have known Ms. Foster, my fifth and sixth grade teacher, who set up a classroom “bank” and introduced us to checking accounts… Mr. Tiffany, my speech teacher, introduced me to public speaking (and whose loud and smooth voice was both intimidating and comforting)… Mrs. Woliver, my free-spirited and enthusiastic eleventh grade English teacher, who gave us off-beat and creative writing assignments (like conversations with my body)… and Ms. Powers, my twelfth grade English teacher, who emphasized critical writing and analysis (and who scared me a little).

Here are three ways you can show teachers how thankful you are that they are in your lives:

* Write “Superhero Thank You Notes” – this set is designed by elementary teacher Whitney Parlin, a free download on

* Give a gift card with a colorful super hero gift card holder from Jen Goode’s 101Directions blog.

* Turn ordinary items into extraordinary gifts with ideas from “50 teacher appreciation printables” collected on Andrea’s Notebook. Wrap up fortune cookies with a note that says, “We’re fortunate to have you as a teacher!” Gift movie tickets and popcorn with a note that says, “Thanks for making me feel like a star!” Give a Starbucks gift card with a note that says, “Thanks a latte!”

You can also share your appreciation for teachers with the world using #ThankATeacher, or get inspired by the appreciation of others, at the National Education Association’s “Thank a Teacher” Storify feed or on the Hawaii State Department of Education’s Facebook page.

What teachers have inspired you? What do you remember most about your favorite teachers?

Celebrate the teachers in your life

May 6, 2014

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?

We love our teachers!

May 7, 2013

National Teacher Day 2013

“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery,” said Mark Van Doren.

Today is National Teacher Day, and this week marks National Teacher Appreciation Week. Let’s all take time to honor our teachers and show them that they have made a difference in our lives.

For crafters and older children, I’d like to share some beautiful, fun, creative gifts to give to teachers. Tip Junkie has compiled two awesome lists: “24 Teacher Appreciation Gifts” and “32 Beautiful Teacher Appreciation Thank You Gifts” (some with free printables), on everything from a jar of appreciation and door decorations to candy lei and apple Rice Krispie treats.

For children of all ages and younger children especially, here are 7 simple, inexpensive ways that children can show their teachers how important they are, individually or as a class:

1. Write a heartfelt thank you note. Make it more meaningful by adding something specific the teacher has said or done to inspire your child, advises Karen Bantuveris on

2. Write an acrostic poem. Children can spell out their teacher’s name and write a poem about them.

3. Give a bouquet of flowers. Whether you made tissue paper flowers or pick real flowers from your garden, children can make their bouquet fun by adding a self-portrait. There’s a nice picture of a bouquet and wooden spoon people at

4. Make a box of love notes. Choose a small box and cute notepaper to fit the box. Children can decorate each paper with a short note or message, from every child in the class, suggests the CurlyBirds blog.

5. Create a feel-good flipbook. Give each student a blank card and ask them to decorate it with notes, artwork, or photos, suggests The cards can be bound together with book rings and presented on a stand, so teachers can keep it on their desk year-round.

6. Compile a classroom gratitude book. Buy an inexpensive autograph book, and ask students (and parents too) to write a note to their teacher, along with a picture or photo, suggests

7. Plant a tree. With support from parents and the school principal, plant a tree at the school in honor of the teachers. Students can watch it grow every year, recommends (there are 59 other suggestions in their free PDF “Teacher Appreciation Ideas eBook”).

Even if it’s been years since you’ve been in a classroom, it’s never too late to write a letter to our favorite teacher, telling them how much we admire them and how they changed our life.

What teachers have inspired you? If you’re a teacher, what is the best gift that you have received?

4 ways to celebrate your teacher

May 8, 2012

“I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework,” said Lily Tomlin as “Edith Ann.”

Today is National Teacher Day, when we can honor and show our appreciation for teachers.

Here are four fun and inexpensive ways to celebrate your favorite teacher:

1. Send a teacher a thank you card. Ask your child to draw or write a personal thank-you and give it to your teacher. Or surprise them with an ecard at the Teacher Thank-You Project ( or from websites like Blue Mountain (, Hallmark (, and Yahoo (

2. Give a teacher appreciation gift. The Tip Junkie blog offers a lot of inexpensive homemade gift ideas that look fabulous, from the fun (a crayon picture frame or a pencil vase) to the elegant (a fabric composition book cover) to the practical (a goodie box or survival kit).

3. Nominate a classroom superhero. Parents, students, and community members can nominate a superhero educator through the Classroom Superheroes project ( Your favorite teacher could be featured on the website, and other people can leave comments and post videos.

4. Create an online tribute. Make a video tribute to your favorite teacher and upload it to the “My Amazing Teacher” project on

A Chinese proverb says, “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”

How has a teacher made a difference in your life? How will you show your appreciation for your favorite teacher?