Teacher appreciation — Too much or too little?

If your school’s schedule is anything like ours, Teacher Appreciation Week should be popping up any time now.

Our school had it last week, and I know lots of other districts did too. Our school goes all out for our teachers. The PTA puts out a schedule of events that the whole school follows. (I heard they had to start mandating what was done because room moms went crazy trying to outdo each other. Another friend said that wasn’t true. They weren’t competing. They just felt bad if their teacher didn’t get treated as well as another.)

This year:

Monday was thank you notes sent in by the kids and put into a decorative presentation by the room moms. (My co-room mom went crazy and had the thank yous interspersed into floral arrangements for the teacher and para-pro.)

Tuesday was wear your teacher’s favorite color day. (We had wanted to order our teacher personalized M&Ms and thought this was a good chance to do it. We ordered them in her favorite color and wrote “We love you!” and her name on them)

Wednesday was a school-wide potluck luncheon. God bless the poor woman that coordinated that thing! You wouldn’t have believed the emails flying around trying to get it organized. You would have thought the queen or the president were coming to town!  There were almost 50 room mom names on the note.  Besides each class donating a main, side and dessert, we had volunteers come in to man the luncheon and the classroom so the teacher could have a slightly longer lunch. (I got to be with our class, which was actually really fun!)

Thursday was donate a new or gently used book to your classroom. (That was easy enough.)

Friday was bring in gifts for your teacher and para-pro.  The parents in the class donated money that we used for the gifts. We got our main teacher a $25 gift card to the movies and $40 (I think) gift card to her favorite restaurant. We got the para-pro a $25 gift card to the movies also. My co-room mom got cute popcorn buckets and put the gift cards in with their favorite candy.

My only complaint about Teacher Appreciation Week is that I think they need to schedule it for February when nothing else is going on! It’s very hard to pull off that much stuff at the end of the year. Plus, it’s not the last week of school so I don’t feel like that should count as her end-of-the year present.

A good friend of mine who teaches at a different Gwinnett County school commented that “Believe me, my room mothers didn’t go out of their way this week.” They told her they were bringing her in lunch. So she didn’t bring in lunch that day, and no one ever came in.

How does your school handle Teacher Appreciation Week? Is it a week, is it day? Are the classes on their own to pick celebrations? Does the school set a schedule for the school to follow? Do the parents participate? Do they send in what they’re asked to do? Do you think it’s reasonable, appropriate or necessary to do an Appreciation Week?

71 comments Add your comment

FCM

May 12th, 2009
4:52 am

How horrible that the follow through was not there for the teacher told in advance about lunch.
Each grade does an appreciation lunch at some point during the year. They are themed and each homeroom in the grade brings in items the day of lunch. That is 6 times a year they get a special luncheon.

I have never gotten into the Teacher Appreciation Week. Although the kids do draw a card. It’s not that I do no appreciate them, it is that like you I would rather do an end of year gift and card. I usually don’t go in on the class gift…Although I was room mother.

One year the Room Mom just gave the teachers the cash collected.

motherjanegoose

May 12th, 2009
7:08 am

As a former teacher, anything that was done to brighten my day was appreciated. Theresa …your crew sounds great!

I once had a restaurant owner bring me a greek salad to her parent teacher conference, as she thought I may be hungry. I tried this with future meetings for my kid’s teachers and they loved it too. Thoughtfulness is really appreciated!

I typically get each teacher a gift card now but my baby is in high school. One gift I thought was clever, was to go to Tuesday Morning and pick up some fun paper cups, plates, tablecloth and napkins for a summer picnic. The teachers all loved that and were amused. I did this all through elementary school.

Some posters will grumble about the gifts and that is fine….there are other parents who make up for the gripers by their kind hospitality and we always appreciate these dedicated parents…it is not about $$$ but the thought….creativity is not necessarily expensive….a $5 gift card to Borders will help get a teacher a book to read over the summer! A beach towel and beach bag at Ross ( I bought one last week) can be had for less than $20…if 4 parents went in on it….you could throw in some sunscreen too! I think they have beach umbrellas at Costco for less than $20 too or even a beach chair would bring a smile.

JJ

May 12th, 2009
7:36 am

Well, our public school experience is rapidly coming to an end. We are busy with “Senior” activities. My daughter is graduating next week. Woo hoo, it really came down to the wire. She almost didn’t pass one of her classes, and it would have prevented her from walking with her class. She almost had to do summer school. Whew, what a relief.

Only a few days left. Next week are finals, and Thursday, I’ll be at the Gwinnett Arena watching my beautiful daughter walk across the stage and get her high school dipolma. I am SO proud of all her hard work!!!

Congratulations to all the graduates. Turn the page, it’s time to start a new chapter in your lives!!!! Go for it!!!

motherjanegoose

May 12th, 2009
7:54 am

JJ….congrats….I will be there next year with my daugher. I was there 4 years ago with my son.

I know you are proud…you will cry with tears of joy!

Get ready for the morons who will whistle,hoot and hollar at their offspring all through the ceremony making it nearly impossible for you and others to hear when another child’s name is being called…all goes back to lack of manners ( who cares about everyone else….we only want the world to know about OUR child) and it is an embarrassment to observe …I am just warning you…the behavior is atrocious. I guess that is what happens when 700 kids graduate in one class…at least they have dress codes under the gowns…at my sister’s school they wore boxers and flip flops…she made her boys wear a shirt and tie…this is what my son had to wear….do they still do this?

Photius

May 12th, 2009
8:13 am

It seems out of control, personally. A simple card and a thank you is good enough. Better idea: pay the teachers for how well they perform.

JJ

May 12th, 2009
8:16 am

Mother – yes, the girls are required to wear dresses and dark shoes. NO FLIP FLOPS allowed. I’m not concerned about shoes, and I think since they live in flip flops, why not let them wear them to graduation. I don’t think anyone really cares what’s on their feet……..

They also are not allowed to throw their caps after the ceremony, something about a fire hazard. But they threw them last year, and they are going to throw them again this year. I’ve heard some seniors decorate their caps, so their family can spot them…….

I am going to hoot and holler when they announce my daughter’s name. Sorry, but we went through HELL to get here, 12 LONG hard years of homework, essays, projects, concerts, luncheons, christmas parties, etc. I am going to clap and whistle VERY loud.

I think it will be a blast to watch all these kids I’ve watched grow up over the years, walk across that stage. I get misty just thinking about it.

We are trying to have a graduation party, but I don’t know when. We seem to get so busy this time of year, and my 50th birthday is Memorial Weekend. So birthday and graduation ceremonies all next week.

LM

May 12th, 2009
9:21 am

JJ, good for you and your daughter. Having been a single mom also, I understand your feelings also. Your father and mother for every school activity and project. No matter if you are sick, need to work late or just worn out, you have been there for your daughter.

If all goes well AB/DC will be following in your daughters foot steps next year. This has been a rough year for us, her medications were out of wack, her car accident, working on the rental property in TN, and then getting married and shipping off DH for his deployment. I have to give her credit she is trying to pull herself back up to where she knows she can be. We studied last night for one of her AP exams. Finals start next week and end of school is the 29th. I am ready for the summer.

I also felt that sometimes the Teacher Appreciation Day/Week got out of hand. Yes do something nice for the teacher, but don’t let it strap your budget. Also we had a couple of teacher I didn’t appreciate, sorry, but I felt they did wrong by my child and didn’t want to be bullied into “appreciating” them when they ignored my concerns for my child then at the end of the year expressed concern for the same things I discussed with them throughout the school year. There was also a teacher I would have hung the moom for and was more then willing to show my appreciation for. To this day he is still a big part of my daughters success.

MomsRule

May 12th, 2009
9:22 am

Elementary schools in my area do a week of events for Teacher Appreciation. Personally, I find this whole teacher appreciation thing over done and ridiculous.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate a good teacher but come on…why are teachers so special that parents are pushed into feeling like they need to do something to show appreciation at Christmas, Teacher Appreciation Week AND end of year. Ridiculous.

I don’t participate any longer. IF one of my children is especially fond of a teacher and my child wants to do something special for that teacher. I am fully supportive and will go the extra mile. Outside of that, count us out.

LM

May 12th, 2009
9:24 am

sorry about the typo’s and I meant I would have hung the moon.

Michelle

May 12th, 2009
9:31 am

Wow…I didn’t know anything about teacher appreciation week. That’s too bad because I probably would have done something. For Christmas though, a bunch of the moms pitched in some $$ and I made a huge photo quilt for the teacher. It was my first attempt and it turned out just “ok” IMO, but she (and all the moms) loved it! I guess that’s what counts! It took a lot of work, but she is a great teacher!

Now that the end of the year is getting near, I need to figure out what to do for that! I think she has done a phenomenal job! I could NEVER do her job and I am so thankful that there are people out there that have this calling!

motherjanegoose

May 12th, 2009
9:32 am

Wow…did everyone else get the easy road with their children pray tell. I guess I did not get those directions when I brought mine home from the hospital. I surely missed something. I am pretty sure I did those other things in paragraph 3 too. Mine went to Kinder too. so that would be 13 years.

I read yesterday on YAHOO, about a college graduate in New York whose parents came up to proudly see him graduate on Saturday and then he was shot and killed on Sunday.

JJ…you and I can never KNOW the #@)) those parents are going though.

It is not about not being proud ( we all are) but the graduation happens so fast that names are called at a quck clip.

It is a FREE country but when some parents are hooting and hollering obnoxiously, it is not pleasant to those other parents who are politely being quiet ( while each child’s name is announced) and whose children also worked hard. ( I believe they tell the kids not to holler out but children seeing parents do so ….hmmm)

Many parents will not be able to hear the name of their own child, as it all happens so fast… it makes me sad to see their faces as they look as though they missed something ( their child’s name) while others are screaming and carrying on.

Does this happen at private school graduations too?

Sorry JJ but this is just my opinion and obviously it is not the majority as manners are going in the toilet….I see this every day. Theresa…I am leaving now ( to go and buy teacher gifts) and hope others will share some thoughts on your topic, as it is timely….have a nice day all!

Denise

May 12th, 2009
9:43 am

We never did Teacher Appreciation Day (Week) in Louisiana. We didn’t give end-of-year gifts either…maybe a few students did for certain teachers but it was never a coordinated effort that required this much attention. I graduated from high school 18 years ago so maybe this is a new phenomenon.

I think a little something is appropriate…movie tickets and candy, beach towel and sunscreen – simple yet thoughtful things. It seems to me with all the emphasis on Teacher Appreciation folks would feel obligated to give. I think that is unfair because not all parents feel that their child’s teacher did a good enough job to receive something over and beyond their salaries.

Joyce

May 12th, 2009
9:55 am

I don’t know if it was coordinated school-wide, but we had a schedule for teacher appreciation week. Each day was a different kind of gift/card. I really do appreciate my son’s teacher, but daily gifts, no matter the cost, seems a bit much to me. I feel like we’re all sending the kids to process to the altar in church. :)

JJ

May 12th, 2009
10:09 am

Mother – no need to apologize for your opinions!!!!

I know what you mean about manners, but this is one time I’m gonna split from my manners. You have NO idea what we have been through, especially the last few weeks. She almost didn’t pass a class and we were both really stressing. I was so upset that I wouldn’t get to see my child graduate, I cried for two straight days (and I’m NOT a cryer, but I couldn’t stop the tears, that’s not like me). Her teacher had been calling me on a weekly basis, telling me that she should drop the class and it wouldn’t show up as an “F” on her transcripts. My daughter dug in her heels (at the last possible minute) and did her best, and ended up barely passing this one class. We found out this past Saturday she passed this class. She was this close to summer school. They have a summer graduation, but we had decided we would not participate in that. If she was to do summer school, we were going to leave it at that.

So, I am going to break from my upbringing, and my manners, and I have already told my Mom, be prepared!!!!! This may be the only graduation I get to see!!!

sd

May 12th, 2009
10:35 am

My son’s school is pretty much the same as Theresa’s as far as Teacher Appreciation Week goes.

I personally think its a bit much to dictate what is expected in the way of gifts, but I don’t feel so strongly about it that I boycot or anything like that.

My son was accepted by lottery into a great school and we are so grateful that the 30 minutes I drive out of my way every morning are well worth it. I have tried to make sure that the teachers know how much we appreciate the opportunity to be there through out the year.

jim d

May 12th, 2009
10:46 am

Geez, Teacher appreciation week, whats the matter with some of y’all?

Has it ever occured to you to show some appreciation on your own during the year, rendering a silly week useless? A few innovative bloggers have expressed they have done so, but why not everyone and spread it out over the entire year? Are y’all just a bunch of sheep that needs be told what to do and when to do it? Why wait??

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

May 12th, 2009
10:50 am

JJ — I am so glad she passed and will graduate. I never had problems in school until I took the second quarter of chemistry in college. I breezed through the first quarter with an A and then I don’t know if it was the teacher or the material but I couldn’t understand it. In college you can drop up to a certain point without it affecting your GPA which I did do. There was no way I could pass that class. and after that I stayed out of the science buildings. I had fulfilled my science requirements at Ga. with my first quarter lab and class. And that was that for science! I graduated with honors but that was all in language, history, poli sci, type classes. Math/science not my thing!! I’m glad you can relax for a little while!!

Stacey

May 12th, 2009
10:51 am

Last year our PTA organized Teacher Appreciation week and the office staff was supposed to send the notes home with the daily gifts but they forgot to send them the week before. The gift giving was supposed to start Monday (a flower to go in the vase that the PTA provided) but since the notes didn’t go home until Monday, the teachers all had empty vases. :-D (From what I hear, they were beautiful vases). Other daily gifts included a handmade card or letter from the student, teacher’s favorite snack, pretty pen or stationary and Friday’s gift was the student’s choice. My son chose windchimes for his teacher. She was overjoyed because she said she had mentioned that her windchimes were blown away in a storm earlier that spring. She was touched that he actually listened to her, remember it and chose something she likes.

Although we elected new PTA officers for this school year, we haven’t had a single meeting (I never even recieved my membership card). Since we don’t have room moms at our school, I doubt if we will have any sort of organized TA week. I will probably just give my son’s teacher a gift card for her favorite bookstore.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

May 12th, 2009
10:52 am

I love both our teacher so I didn’t feel like it was overkill. Like I said I just think it’s too hard to pull off at the end of the year. I do think if you weren’t crazy about your teacher it would feel very pushy — they’re assuming everyone likes their teachers. We tried not to be pushy in our notes to the parents and the only thing I got pushy on was when we didn’t have a single volunteer to cook for the luncheon and I just wasn’t going to do it! We were doing everything else and somebody else could make dish.

jim d

May 12th, 2009
10:56 am

Theresa,

one word dear. “CATER”. Keep it in mind for the future

PHR

May 12th, 2009
10:59 am

We weren’t crazy about the teacher this year so I didn’t go out of my way to do anything for Teacher Appreciation week.

My husband is a teacher and I think at his school they got a breakfast one day sponsored by the PTA and a lunch on another day also from the PTA. The parents not involved in PTA didn’t do anything.

sd

May 12th, 2009
10:59 am

Its not that its asking too much, its that its asking at all.

I am not even a fan of registries for weddings and births.

I guess I don’t like the formal directing of gift giving. Gifts should be given not out of any sense of obligation but rather simply because a person wants to show their appreciation.

A note home stating that its Teacher Appreciation Week and encouraging students to show how much they appreciate their teacher.

jim d

May 12th, 2009
11:01 am

LM

May 12th, 2009
11:05 am

JJ

That has been our year. AB/DC had been doing so well since she started middle school. But this year she blew it, big time! Now at the end of the year she is working her butt off trying to get her grades up. Should I also tell you that my brother failed his senior year and didn’t get to graduate with his class, the note came home the Friday before Graduation. That was when my Mom gave up, by the end of that summer she told me that when she moved I was not welcome to move with her. So I moved with my brother and finished HS.

After reading all the post, it got me to thinking. I sent floweres to AB/DC kindergarten teacher, just to let him know that I still appreciate all he did for us while she was in elementary school. I don’t like being forced into appreciating. But I am not above showing it where I think it is deserved.

Cammi317

May 12th, 2009
11:25 am

My daughter’s school had teacher appreciation last week as well. M – bring a card, T – bring a candle, W – bring a healthy snack, Th- bring a flower & F – bring items for a teacher breakfast. I and one other mother actually went into the kitchen and cooked pancakes and eggs. Everything else was brought in by the kids, which was mostly breads and pastries.

Teacher, Too

May 12th, 2009
11:47 am

I have found (in teaching in Title schools) that very little is done for teacher appreciation. This year, the teachers and staff had something at lunch every day. One day was desserts and the rest of the week was lunch. PTSA and different clubs actually provided lunch those days. It was very nice, and I didn’t have to pack my lunch each day. That was a treat in itself.

I had one student who wrote me a thank you note with a packet of popcorn. Although it was a small token, I knew it was heartfelt and sincere.

My best teacher appreciation gift came in the form of a phone call this past week. One of my former student’s parents called and asked me if I would write a senior letter to their daughter. I had taught her for all three middle grades, and they felt I had played a part in her high school successes (star student, salutatorian). I felt honored that I was remembered. I will be at her graduation next week!

JJ

May 12th, 2009
12:15 pm

sd – Amen!!!

nurse&mother

May 12th, 2009
1:06 pm

My daughter’s former elementary school sent out a list that included some pricey catagories. I am not too fond of the weeklong gift giving. I think it reeks of milking parents, imho. Another reason why I am not too fond is that I give gifts at Christmas AND at the end of the year. If I follow the “suggestions” for teacher appreciation week, I would be giving on seven different occasions. It makes me feel stingy if I don’t give throughout the week. I typically give one or two days out of the teacher appreciation week.

I love the idea of parents doing a nice lunch for teacher and staff (in addition to, not in place of, an individual gift). I am the parent who gives to teachers at Christmas and at the end of the year. This is why I feel like the school is asking for more “appreciation”. I know of no other profession where gifts are bestowed upon so freely as in the schools. I’m not complaining, but just take a look around at other professions.

I have had the same dilemma, as others have had, with the one teacher who is incompetent. I couldn’t bring myself to not give her a gift, so I gave one anyway.

JJ

May 12th, 2009
1:09 pm

LM, my daughter turned 18 in February, and in March started receiving college acceptance letters. I think she thought, “oh I’m 18, and I’ve been accepted to college (and I’m smarter any ANYONE I know), I don’t have to do anymore work in high school”. That’s when our troubles started. She fluffed off for about a month, then I found out she had been ditching classes. She was also in an on-line class and hadn’t logged in in over 3 weeks…….

My only hope is she learned a very valuable Life Lesson. But at 18, they think they know everything!!!!

MamaS

May 12th, 2009
1:32 pm

Our PTO room mother sent out an email list of the teacher’s preferences:
favorite color, favorite store, favorite restaurant, hobby, even favorite flowers.
I had a flower arrangement delivered and also sent a restaurant gift card inside a thank-you note. I hope I did enough. My son is in a private school and most of his classmates seem to be more affluent that we are.
I always budget for teacher Christmas gifts, end-of-year gifts, and donations to the classroom library. I’m not trying to buy my son the position of “teacher’s pet” but I do not want her to be resentful of or impatient with him because we cannot afford to keep up with the other parents.

LM

May 12th, 2009
1:36 pm

JJ, I am glad you daughter has had a chance to get in back together. And for your sake I pray she will learn from this and won’t cause you as much stress once she starts college.

I’ll need to talk to you soon about getting my darlin child’s college aps and financial aid started. I think she needed to have already started, at least thinking about the colleges and writing the essays, but she knows so much better than I and says she has plenty of time them done. I am just a mom and don’t know anything, yeah right.

JJ

May 12th, 2009
1:56 pm

LM, we started the process last November. We went down to GA Southern for an open house. I highly recommend you attending at least ONE open house at a campus. I learned SO much about financial aid, etc. Ga Southern’s was awesome. We drove down Friday night, spent the night, got a feel of the town, and did the open house Saturday, along with about 2,000 other people. We saw alot of my daughter’s friends down there. And it was an excuse for us to get away for a weekend :) However, she decided to go to Middle Georgia, and possibly transfer to GA Southern after her first year.

The first thing you will need to do for financial aid is go to this website……www.fafsa.ed.gov. There you will see the 9 million page application (they want ALL kinds of info, right down to a blood sample, haha). They will assign you a PIN number, and you can get things rolling. Your deadline will be April 1 next year. They will want all your financial information, taxes included, so you will need your 2009 tax returns.

It was an easy process, but very time consuming. You can print the application out as a “workbook”, but everything is on line. Good luck to you.

Lefty

May 12th, 2009
2:07 pm

I was lucky that about half the parents in my son’s class contributed to a class fund when I made the request early in the year. That paid (for the most part) for a Christmas gift, some other party supplies and a TA gift card. I sent teacher a questionnaire earlier. For TA Week, Tuesday – I had the children write a thank you note and we gave her the $25 gift card with her favorite flowers. Thursday, the children brought teacher some of her favorite things. We put them in Trader Joes surf board bags because she’s a beach lover. My goal was to be thoughtful and simple.

Storm

May 12th, 2009
2:20 pm

Since when do you “appreciate” someone for doing the job they are paid to do, in a career they chose?

Therefore, why do we not appreciate our policemen, fireman, etc?????? When is fireman appreciation day? Police appreciation week???

MomsRule

May 12th, 2009
2:39 pm

I agree 100% Storm. Funny, I considered posting something similar regarding firemen and police.

I personally don’t appreciate the PTA notes telling me what I have to do and how to spend my money. The fact is…many teachers suck.

Yes, there are some good ones out there. They will be shown appreciation over time by people in general as that is the normal course of things. You go above and beyond…someone will notice and be thankful. And based upon previous topics on this very blog and comments posted by teachers..many of the gifts are unappreciated and unwanted by the teachers anyway.

So what’s the point?

From what I’ve seen at both the elementary schools my children have attended…its more about busy body Moms who need to cut the apron strings and join a coffee club.

Stacey

May 12th, 2009
2:44 pm

My son attends a Title 1 school and I think last year the PTA did a good job of selecting things that were free or reasonably priced. The note that they sent home stressed that participation was voluntary but they did ask that we at least do the free things. Since I only have one child, I could afford to participate each day (once I got the list). I may have spent a total of $20 for the whole week since the windchimes were like $10-$12 at Big Lots. Still, I understand that $20 is a lot of money for some families, especially those with more than one kid. I’m sure the teachers would appreciate a card or handwritten letter for the student and/or parent if they can’t afford to purchase something.

KC

May 12th, 2009
2:50 pm

As a teacher in special education with over 20 years experience, my favorite gift was when my worst behaved student (I thought at the time) told me on his last day – He was glad I taught him to read and loved him when he was bad. I felt so much joy I cried and never thought of a student as bad again. I say he is having a bad moment but a great day! Every year has challenges and each year has greater rewards. We are not always told we make a difference but in our hearts we know!

The Truth

May 12th, 2009
3:31 pm

I appreciate the teachers and welcome the opportunity to show my appreciation. However, I think teacher appreciation week was created because the better teachers received recognition and gifts while the lesser teachers or teachers that were unpopular received less or nothing at all at the end of the year. And when you add up the gifts for the teachers, para-professionals, math coaches, foreign language teachers, media specialists, and other key support staff – it adds up to a tremendous amount of money that often conflicts with other expenditures in the late Spring. So, I’m all in favor of changing the timing.

The Truth

May 12th, 2009
3:53 pm

After reading the comments regarding feeling “obligated” to give, I completely understand. At my children’s school, there are definitely key people that I recognized with a gift not because of some outstanding attribute or quality, but because they are “gate keepers” to resources, programs, or activities that are beneficial or potentially beneficial to my children. As an illustration, giving the gifts makes the difference between receiving the application for great program a week before the deadline, a day before the deadline, or not at all. I think we can all be honest and say we understand that’s how things work from time to time.

Kati

May 12th, 2009
3:57 pm

I have been teaching for twenty years and am always grateful for any and every show of appreciation from a parent or child. Elementary schools get that more routinely. Once kids hit middle school parents don’t seem to appreciate the teachers as much. Our PTA ( about 10 mothers for a school of 1200 kids) did some very nice things for us last week. One parent brought me a nice lunch one day. That was it. I thank God every day that I have friends and family who love and support me because if I depended on appreciation from my administration, district, students or parents I would live a life of disappointment and frustration.

Kati

May 12th, 2009
3:59 pm

By the way – to MomsRule – many moms also suck.

Darla - Gwinnett Headlines Examiner

May 12th, 2009
4:19 pm

I think many teachers would consider it teacher appreciation if kids would just come to school clean, properly fed, well-mannered, and have their homework done. Probably 90% of the time, they don’t even get that. Room mothers for my son’s class wanted to take up a collection of $2 each child to be able to buy the lunch for the teacher and para pro. The last that I heard, only $2 had been collected, so they were not able to do the lunch. My son also took in a flower for his teacher, but we really should have been able to come up with more than this…I still favor being considerate and helpful to the teachers ALL the time, instead of thinking that there’s a designated time for it, & failing then.

motherjanegoose

May 12th, 2009
4:52 pm

kati Re: momsrule….you are correct!

Darla perhaps is why some parents are more appreciative, since know how similar having a good teacher is to having a good parent….those who are awful parents would never realize that teachers wake up and worry about their students at night….teaching has never been a 8 hour a day job.

Peachy

May 12th, 2009
4:56 pm

Graduating from high school is not the end all and be all….it is merely another step in life. And let’s face it—a gerbil could graduate from high school these days! Anytime I see the whooping and hollering and acting as if it is the Second Coming, I have to wonder what the child’s ambitions are AFTER high school. Graduation should be a solemn, honorable ceremony. Please save the whooping and hollering for the tractor pulls, rodeos, etc.

HB

May 12th, 2009
5:10 pm

For the person asking about other appreciation days, as a matter of fact, we are now in the middle of National Police Week: http://www.nationalpoliceweek.com. I know this because we have been alerted that helicopters that will be flying over DC as part of the events are authorized, so we shouldn’t freak out.

As for Teacher Appreciation Week, it seems like something that probably started out as a nice idea (probably was Teacher Appreciation Day) and has gone over the top due to over-anxious room moms. I like the idea of having a couple of planned activities for the kids and maybe encouraging parents to help their kids come up with a handmade token at home, like a card or a letter of thanks, but even that shouldn’t be specific — let them decide what to give. Rather than tell the kids to wear his/her favorite color, why not encourage the kids to try to learn a little more about their teacher by encouraging them to ask about likes, hobbies, etc and then let them decide how they could incorporate that into something (like the child who remembered the wind chimes blowing away — what teacher wouldn’t love that?! or Lefty’s thoughtful and simple idea of bringing in Teacher’s favorite things — that’s really nice). Themed days, potlucks, and $17 M&Ms seem silly to me and refect the thought of just a few adults rather than a large portion of the parents and kids.

For the high school years, it’s nice when the administration organizes kids to do something. Our principal enlisted a couple of our school service clubs, the PTA, and all the assistant principals to put together a Staff Appreciation Breakfast during homecoming week. We showed up at the cafeteria at 5ish to cook.

Rhonda K.

May 12th, 2009
5:15 pm

Well, this is the second year our school has beeen open, and I’ve been in charge of Teacher Apprecation Week both years. Last year we asked the parents to chip in for the lunch and breakfast for the teachers, this year, with so many people losing jobs the PTO covered all costs. M-start the week out right with a healthy snack and breakfast provided by the PTO and served by parents, T-thank you with a card(homemade is best!) Wed-thank you with flowers, again we encouraged the children to be creative, Thur-supply drive day(we are in school until June 12th, so it helps, and Friday we gave out gift bags to all teachers and staff and served the teachers and staff lunch. All week parents volunteered when needed, it was fun, but exhausting……but well deserved!

motherjanegoose

May 12th, 2009
5:48 pm

Peachy…guess we are the only ones in the ceremony camp and I do know about tractor pulls and rodeos….been there done that and hollering is acceptable…ditto for a cattle auction: do not sit in the front row…if you do and the steers poop and swerve quickly….you will be wearing it home, as I did….LOL.

DB

May 12th, 2009
6:51 pm

At our school, teacher appreciation is big in the lower school, but not nearly as formalized in the upper schools. There’s PTA committees that organize weekly cookie and treat trays during the year, one mom in each class volunteers to handle a birthday remembrance. There’s a committee that organizes a teacher’s luncheon on the half-day (today) at a local country club where the teacher’s have a luncheon, a “roast”, some of the orchestra students playing music during lunch, and a favor of some sort — this committee works all year on this luncheon, and the teachers always look forward to it.

JJ, I hope your graduation is wonderful, and that the other families are well-behaved! Our graduation is on the lawn at our school in two weeks. There is NO applause for each graduate. Instead, when the graduate’s name is called, the entire family stands up (a) as a recognition (b) so the graduate can find them in the crowd and (c) to make picture-taking easier! OK, some of us will have small signs (no posters!) that may spell out the student’s name — but that’s about as racy as it gets. The graduate then walks across the stage and then the next name is called. There is NO undignified whooping and hollering — perhaps because for these families, high school graduation is only a stepping stone, not the epitome of achievement.

LM, you’re right, your child does need to be organized NOW when it comes to college applications. Get them a bankers box or plastic file crate, and set up a separate file for each school the child is interested in. Have a calendar with Early Action, Early Decision and Regular Admission deadlines highlighted, as well as SATs and ACT fall test dates, if needed — then kick everything back a week, to make SURE the deadlines are met. Make sure you know any school deadlines for getting transcripts sent, setting up auditions if needed (i.e., for fine arts studnets), teacher recommendations organized, etc. (some schools are better at this than others). At my children’s school, the kids were encouraged to asked for recommendations by April of the Junior year, to give the teachers a chance to organize their letters over the summer — not that they weren’t writing plenty during the fall, but for the kids who knew exactly what they were doing, it was good to get a head-start. For example, in 2007, my son sent his application for early action to UGA the first week in August, and he had a decision by mid-September. (He ended up going elsewhere, but it was nice to have one under his belt!)

In addition to the website that JJ mentioned, also register at gacollege411.com, which is the HOPE page, if you are interested in an in-state college.

And lastly, register for college visits NOW. They fill up very quickly, especially at the more popular colleges such as UGA, Tech, etc. Some schools give a day or two of excused days for college visits, so keep that in mind. Keep in mind that at some schools, you have to register separately for a tour and an information session. Have fun! It’s a roller-coaster, but it’s so satisfying to see them getting ready for their next steps towards adulthood.

motherjanegoose

May 12th, 2009
7:47 pm

DB…I am so glad you chimed in. I KNEW you would come up with something sensible and the standing up for the graduate idea is wonderful. I was hoping the private schools knew better how to get their parents to behave and it seems they do!

HB

May 12th, 2009
8:09 pm

“There is NO undignified whooping and hollering — perhaps because for these families, high school graduation is only a stepping stone, not the epitome of achievement.”

Yeah, this is why my mom who taught high school home ec for 15 years got really upset about the no applause rules. She had many students over the years who were not college prep for whom high school graduation was truly a big deal. As she said, some of these kids never had dance recitals, couldn’t afford band instuments, etc and this may be the only time that people stand up and cheer for them. They likely would go straight to work that summer and would not graduate again — it really was big life achievement for them. Granted, she never taught in a school with more than 200-250 graduates, but she figured, what’s the harm in pausing a few seconds and giving people a chance to cheer before calling the next name? Why not let the graduation ceremony be a time of jubilation :)? Interestingly, the college graduations I’ve been to haven’t been nearly so stodgy. Family and friends cheer on the graduates, the mortar boards are often decorated, graduates personalize their dress in simple ways, like my friend from Hawaii who wore a lei for the occasion — it’s fun! Why try so hard to stiffen things up?