Heartfelt teacher appreciation ideas—from a teacher!

Kristina Durkin is an IXL Professional Learning Specialist with four years experience as an elementary educator.

Teachers certainly deserve appreciation every day, but Teacher Appreciation Week (May 8 -12, 2023) provides an opportunity to shower teachers with a little extra love. 

Parents and students, read on for some creative ideas on how to show your appreciation this year!

Send a special message 

Thank you note. A sincere, handwritten note from a student goes a long way in making a teacher feel appreciated. Not sure where to begin? Students might benefit from sentence starters like:

  • “My favorite thing about my teacher is…” 
  • “I love when my teacher…”
  • “My favorite thing I’ve learned in our class is…” 

Decorate with love letters! One of my favorite memories from my time as a teacher is when my fifth grade students surprised me by decorating my classroom door. Each student wrote a “love note” on a paper heart, including their favorite memories of our school year, something I’d taught them, or something they loved about our time together. I still cherish those notes years later!

Write a letter to a prior teacher. Teachers love to hear from their former students. This Teacher Appreciation week, consider having your child write a quick note or email of appreciation to a teacher from a previous grade level. 

Send a note to the principal. If your child’s teacher is doing an exceptional job, why not share that with the principal? Parents or students can write an email to the principal detailing how their teacher has made a positive impact on them. 

Potted Plant. Flowers are always appreciated, but a plant can be an enduring symbol of appreciation that lasts over time. I would often keep these plants in my classroom for years. Your child can even make it an excuse to come back for a visit in subsequent school years to help give it water and say hello to their old teacher!


Give the gift of time

Volunteer. Every teacher wishes there were more hours in the day. If your child’s school allows volunteers, consider signing up for recess duty, to print or prep materials, or to be a guest reader in your child’s classroom.

Fuel your teacher. With teachers’ busy schedules, they don’t always have time to prepare meals or step out for lunch. A gift card to a food delivery service or a favorite local restaurant is always appreciated!  

Coffee cart. My mornings as a teacher were often hectic, and I didn’t always think to grab breakfast before running out the door! During Teacher Appreciation Week one year, our parent organization put together a coffee cart that students rolled from classroom to classroom with coffee, bagels, and baked goods for teachers. It was a sweet surprise, and it took one thing off my busy morning to-do list!