Building Collegiality During Teacher Appreciation Week

Acknowledge the teachers in your life and on your campus as we celebrate all educators during Teacher Appreciation Week.

By Eliana Osborn


Teacher standing in front of students

I still remember my first grade teacher at Sand Lake Elementary in Anchorage, Alaska. Mrs. Overstreet seemed impossibly beautiful to me, probably for her patience and enthusiasm as much as for her physical features. I most fondly remember the spelling lists we would brainstorm based on rhyming words, and the time we spent singing songs every day.

What Teachers Taught Me 

Even though I’m well past thirty, I can list every teacher I’ve ever had. As an awkward young girl, some of my teachers taught me what it meant to be valued. I didn’t become a teacher because of one amazing educator in particular, but because of the influence every one of my teachers had on me. They taught me valuable things, such as a questioning style or some interesting writing assignments. I find myself emulating these techniques in my own classroom to this day. 

On Your Campus

Teacher Appreciation Week can be a great time of year when parents and kids make a special effort to reach out and thank educators for all their hard work. But what about taking a few moments yourself and expressing gratitude for your own colleagues? Is there a teacher in the grade below you who does a great job instilling respect in students, making your job just a little easier? How about a special education professional who exudes calm and a positive attitude, really making a difference with those in his care? 

Too often, as teachers, we stay in our classrooms and make our own little cocoon. However, it is only collectively that we make up a school. It might feel weird at first to express appreciation for your peers, but just think how you would feel. A short note, a cup of coffee, a sincere pat on the back; these steps take moments from your day, but leave a lasting impact.

In Your Family

Since having a school-aged child, I’ve grown in my gratitude for teachers. This year, I’ll still be thankful for my son’s kindergarten instructor, even though he’s moved on to another grade. In her first year in the classroom, Mrs. Mesa exuded contagious warmth and cheer. I’ve been thinking about how well she prepared my son emotionally and academically for the success he’s had this year. I need to reach out and let her know that she made a difference.

Teaching Teachers

We often reflect on our influential teachers once we are in the trenches of the profession. It is certainly appropriate to reach out to them as peers, to let them know that they did a good job, no matter how long ago. Even a college professor will enjoy a short e-mail bringing her up to date on where you are now and how her course benefitted you.

So Mr. Harrington, 10th grade English, and Mrs. Pinegar, Intro. to the Teaching Profession, thank you. To my current department chair, to whom I can go to with any concerns, thank you. Saying thank you is always classy, it doesn’t have to cost a penny, and it is a small way to pay back all that educators have done for you in your life.

More Lessons:

Life Reports

Everyone we interact with helps shape who we are in life. Interview and listen to those from another generation to see who made an impact on them. Also, you will get a chance to think about the people in your own life.

Gratitude Journals

Writing about the simple blessings of each day can help pupils focus on the positive. An excellent way to be more thoughtful and perceptive about details, which can also lead to more descriptive writing.

Honoring Veterans

Learning about those who serve our nation, your class can then take it a step further. Writing letters of appreciation for veterans and current soldiers can be especially valuable for kids with a parent involved in the military.