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Thanking Our Teachers This Thanksgiving (And Every Day!)

November 23, 2023

This Thanksgiving, we’re turning our attention to the millions of teachers dedicated to helping our children learn and grow. Here are a few easy ways to show our teachers how much they mean to us.


 

While teacher satisfaction levels have rebounded since the height of the pandemic, it’s still devastating to think of how many teachers have left the profession or are considering leaving. In my own child’s school, I know staff are struggling to hire teachers for several subjects.

There are some positive trends. Two out of three teachers say they’re satisfied with their job, up from 56% a year ago. One-fifth of teachers report feeling “very satisfied” in 2023, double the rate last year. But half of teachers still feel as though they aren’t respected by the public.

It makes sense. A lot of what teachers hear these days is negative. Most of the time, teachers only hear from parents if they’re upset or there’s a concern with their child.

Of course, teachers would love to have more financial compensation, more resources, and more respect. Still, I know from experience that a “thank you” can go a long way.

Here are a few easy ways school administrators and parents can show teachers their gratitude. 

 

A Thoughtful Gesture Can Have Lasting Impacts

It’s human nature to want to feel valued and appreciated. It boosts self-esteem and mood and even builds resilience. Fortunately, gratitude is something everyone can give. It doesn’t cost a thing. But with our hurried lives, many of us don’t stop to give people the thanks they deserve.

Sharing gratitude doesn’t just benefit the person receiving it. It has health benefits for the person giving thanks, too. A win-win for all! For instance, a study from the University of California at Berkeley found that people who wrote weekly letters expressing their gratitude to someone saw significantly improved mental health, including alleviated symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Giving thanks isn’t just heartwarming; it’s heart-healthy. Research suggests a correlation between positive psychological attitudes, like optimism and gratitude, with improved health outcomes in cardiac patients.

Thanking a teacher can create positive energy that carries over into the classroom. According to research from Gallup, teachers who regularly receive recognition and praise are more engaged with their students and more likely to stay at their school.

I know from experience that a simple gesture can leave a lifelong impression. When I was teaching, I remember one particular week where my students always seemed to be misbehaving and the day-to-day stress was getting to me. Then, the mother of one of my students came to my classroom to bring me my favorite snack: some crackers and a Coca-Cola.

“I just want to thank you for all that you’re doing for my son,” she said to me. I was so touched that she drove out of her way to stop by the school. A single moment of appreciation reminded me of my love for teaching all over again.

 

Easy Tips to Show You're Thankful

For school administrators, I’ve found that the best way to demonstrate gratitude to teachers is to show them that you value their time. During my tenure as a principal, I would host an impromptu recess to give teachers a much-needed free period or take over carpool duty for various teachers.

For parents, an important way to show gratitude to teachers is to place your trust in them. While your child is your top priority, it’s crucial to remember that most teachers have the education and training to help your child through a variety of challenges. Do your best to respect teachers and listen before rushing to judgment. They’ll appreciate that you value their expertise.

Don’t feel as though you need to drive over to your kids’ school on a regular basis. Even something as small as an email is a great way to give thanks. Here are some simple ways you can thank a teacher:

  • Write a thank you card and mail it to a teacher.
  • Shout out a message of thanks to a teacher on social media.
  • Do something nice for a teacher, like giving them lunch.
  • Send a teacher their favorite snack or drink.
  • Send an email to their principal showing gratitude for the teacher.
  • Pick up flowers and send a kind note or quote to a teacher.

 

Showing Gratitude All Year Round

We challenge you to give thanks to teachers not just for Thanksgiving but any day that you can. It’s a small gesture that could make a huge difference.

At KI, one of the ways we give back to teachers is through our annual learning space design competition.

From all of us at KI to teachers everywhere, we THANK YOU for your dedication to students!

 


 

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by Emily McGinnis  K-12 Education Specialist

Emily previously spent 21 years of her career in the K-12 realm, splitting her time as a teacher and principal in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. Her blend of leadership, teaching, and community growth provide a wealth of knowledge to KI’s K-12 clients and internal team members. Emily holds a masters in teaching from Wingate University and has earned other degrees in sociology, school administration K-12 and reading specialist K-12.

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