Teaching Profession

Teacher Appreciation Week: A Chance to Honor Often-Unappreciated Teachers

By Kristine Kim — May 09, 2017 3 min read
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It’s officially Teacher Appreciation Week and today is National Teachers’ Day, but the celebration may seem hollow for some—a number of teachers say they’re not receiving the recognition they believe they deserve.

According to Gallup research, K-12 teachers rated the work recognition they receive lower than any other employee polled in an extensive workplace-engagement survey: Only 29 percent of K-12 teachers strongly agree that they have received recognition or praise for doing good work in the last seven days, according to a Gallup blog post that analyzes research done in 2013.

This is especially troubling considering the benefits of feeling valued: When teachers receive regular recognition and praise, they are more likely to be productive and engaged, according to Gallup research. Consistent recognition can promote teacher retention and also result in higher satisfaction reported by parents and students.

So, in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, here are some organizations and companies that are appreciating teachers’ hard work:

The National Education Association’s 2017 #ThankATeacher campaign encourages the community to share stories about their favorite teacher or reach out and express a simple ‘thank-you.’

The U.S. Department of Education is also supporting the #ThankATeacher campaign. Teachers can update their Facebook profile pictures using a department-sponsored frame to participate in the weeklong celebration.

For parents and students, the Parent Teacher Association has printable thank-you cards and certificates for parents and students looking to recognize a special teacher or principal this week.

Last week, ABC’s popular game show, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” starred four teachers, including Kaitlin Roig-Debeillis, a 1st grade teacher who saved the lives of all 15 of her students during the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., in 2012.

The other three teachers who competed for the $1 million prize were Bob Scarpone, a high school social studies teacher in Flanders, N.J.; Sonya Romero, a kindergarten teacher in Albuquerque, N.M.; and Jen Sculley, a high school dean in Denver.

Teacher appreciation efforts are also underway among fundraising sites. On average last year, teachers spent $530 on classroom items and teachers in high-poverty schools spent almost 40 percent more. Nonprofits like Donors Choose allow the public to donate to teachers who are raising money for things like classroom supplies—some campaigns are also matched by partners of Donors Choose.

In Wisconsin, for example, all teachers who had an active Donors Choose campaign received funding from former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, according to On Milwaukee. In September, to kick off the first day of school, Kohl had initially funded every single active Donors Choose campaign created by a Wisconsin teacher. Now, to celebrate the state’s teachers this week, he has donated another $500,000 to match donations already made to the campaigns.

GoFundMe, another popular fundraising site, is also giving back to the nation’s educators. The social fundraising platform announced its national contest for PreK-12 educators called “We Love Teachers.” In order to be eligible, campaigns must be created between May 1 and May 18, and teachers must raise more than $500 by May 18 to be entered for a chance to win a $1,000 donation from the company.

But in the meantime, teachers, here are some stores and brands offering discounts and deals celebrating YOU. It’s worth mentioning that some deals are year-round.

The staff of Education Week also came together to thank teachers who have inspired them. Check out the video:

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.