Teacher Appreciation Week in the Time of COVID-19

Today starts Teacher Appreciation Week, running May 4-8, 2020. I don’t know about you, but normally our PTO would have been brainstorming, planning, creating, arranging, and executing decorations, surprises, food, and ways to show our teachers (and school staff!) how much we appreciate them.

This year is different.

With schools being out because of COVID-19, we had to stretch our creative muscles to come up with virtual ideas and ways we can show our gratitude. It’s been a little tricky, but our PTO sure hopes the teachers and staff know how truly appreciated and cherished they are.

I am so grateful to our educators.

In this unprecedented time of school closures, rapidly changing information, and stress on families, let’s remember how our teachers are also impacted. In reflecting on the impact my son’s teachers and school staff have on him and our family, it makes me sad to see some critical social media posts. So, I offer up these observations. I am not a teacher but a mom, and here are some things I’ve thought about over these last six weeks.

Teachers are concerned about kiddos in their classes who might not have the most stable life at home. Let’s show their tender hearts some compassion.

Teachers are providing resources to their students to keep the learning momentum going. Let’s support them by supporting our kids to the best of our abilities.

Teachers are learning and mastering new technologies. Let’s give them grace duringany tech glitches or foibles.

Teachers are balancing their own children at home and underfoot while trying to support their students. Let’s acknowledge that this is hard for all of us.

Teachers are thinking about the future, too . . . next week, next month, next fall. Let’s do our best to go with the flow and focus on things that are within our control instead of speculating about what is not in our control.

Teachers are demonstrating their flexibility. Let’s show them our appreciation in this strange, strange time.

So here’s what we have planned for our teachers and staff this week. We want all students to be able to participate in some way, so we have non-monetary ways to appreciate our teachers and staff each day. Your school may be doing something similar. If not, here are some ideas!

Regardless of your school’s plans for Teacher Appreciation Week, I would encourage you to reach out to your children’s classroom teacher and their specials teachers, as well as the administrators, support staff, paraprofessionals, custodians, cooks, etc.

Let these folks know that we appreciate all they do when school is in session and perhaps —even more —the support they are giving during these weird, uncertain times!

(In parting, here’s some insight about gifts for teachers. And if you want to send an e-gift card, Amazon gift cards start at just $1, and Target gift cards start at $5!)

What are you doing for teacher appreciation week?

Sara is a NW Iowa native who moved across the state to become a Hawkeye! After her time at the U of I, she left for optometry school and residency before coming home to Iowa to start her “adult” life in Coralville. She was in clinical practice for 5 years before trying her hand at the research side of eye care, working on clinical trials in the pharma/biotech industry. Sara is a wife, mom to a 5-year-old boy, and step-mom to four teenagers! Because her son was born at 25 weeks and had a lengthy NICU stay, Sara is passionate about all things related to prematurity, especially parent support in the NICU. She loves connecting with fellow NICU moms, both online and in person. Sara also enjoys spending time with friends and extended family, reading, scrapbooking, organizing, knitting, travel, keeping up with tech trends, finding new wines to enjoy, honing her photography skills, and serving on the Family Advisory Council for UI Children’s Hospital. She’s a consultant for Jamberry Nails, too, which lets her dabble in her creative side.



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