Every American has been touched by an educator, and Teacher Appreciation Week drives home the influence they’ve had across generations and at every level of learning. Many famous leaders and philosophers have validated the importance of our educators...
BF Skinner: "Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten."
Helen Caldicott: "Teachers are the most responsible and important members of society because their professional efforts affect the fate of the earth."
Henry Brooks Adams: "Teachers affect eternity; no one can tell where their influence stops."
Plato: "If a man neglects education, he walks lame to the end of his life."
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk: "A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others."
Barack Obama: "If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life."
History of National Teacher Appreciation Week
When is Teacher Appreciation Day?
Typically held during the first week of May, National Teachers Day is the focal point of an entire week spent giving regard to educators of choice. Elementary, junior high and secondary level schools across the country are dedicating a week to thank and reward instructors for their efforts.
Finding an authority on the true beginnings of National Teachers Day isn’t easy. According to the National Education Association, or NEA, just before the end of World War II an Arkansas teacher named Mattye Whyte Woodridge addressed political leaders about designating a day to honor teachers on a national level. Eleanor Roosevelt responded to Woodridge and in 1953 the 81st Congress proclaimed a National Teachers Day.
While the work of the NEA got teachers their recognition, the decision about when is Teacher Appreciation Day had not been permanently determined. Congress declared March 7, 1980 as National Teacher Day and it remained a celebration during the month of March until 1985 when National Teacher Day was moved by the NEA Representative Assembly to the first Tuesday in May and became National Teacher Appreciation Week.
Who is Making the Teachers’ Day
The Teacher Appreciation Week program is run by the Council of Chief State School Officers and Google is one of the sponsors. The tech company partners with DonorsChoose.org to boost opportunities for students and teachers.
The nonprofit organization brings classroom dreams to life; in fact, it’s the number one classroom funding site for teachers. Founded by a Bronx high school teacher in the year 2000, DonorsChoose.org accepts requests for classroom projects, providing more than $20 million and funding over 1,402,490 projects since its inception. The nonprofit has touched 10 percent of all public schools in the country and is supported by 3,711,723 people.
One of the reasons many parents voice the idea that teachers deserve rewards is the fact that they typically spend their own, personal finances on classroom supplies for their students. So, while they inspire students and provide lifelong lessons and advice for the kids, they’re whittling down their earnings with these expenses.
That’s where the PTA comes in to help defray these costs and offer physical assistance as well. The PTA website offers a lot of suggestions for teachers’ day recognition. Parents can participate in gifting, offering money and supplies, as well as launching programs and spearheading events.
What You Can Do for National Teacher Appreciation Week
Calling it a shout-out to the “T” in PTA, students and parents can pool their resources to make their teachers’ day in creative ways.
Some of the more conventional methods spearheaded by PTA groups every year include:
- Heartfelt cards and letters with messages of appreciation for teachers
- Artwork, poems and video message
- Certificates and award
- Special ceremonies
- Decorating classrooms and administrative lounges
- Extra volunteerism
- Surprise assemblies/events
Uploading pictures and Throwback Thursday photos of your favorite educators
The PTA site also has ready-made thank you cards, flyers and certificates you can download and fill to let them know they’ve made a difference. They can also help you with social media graphics if you need help sharing photos and activities during Teacher Appreciation Week.
There are a lot of other gift ideas that put your own personal stamp on them. You can also customize gifts by engraving metal, painting wood or just using Crayons.
• Classroom supplies
• Gift cards
• Homemade card
• Mug and coffee
• DIY projects
Celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week through Donations
If you just completed your taxes and realized you need more write-offs for next year, you can celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week with a donation to a nonprofit education foundation.
If you don’t have extra cash, or if you want to contribute another way, you can donate a car to education through nonprofit groups. When you donate a car to charity it pays off in several ways. You benefit kids, of course, but you also find an easy way to dispose of a car you no longer need – plus garner a tax write-off.
When donating a car through Cars2Charities there’s no drop-off locations to deal with, and the company fills out all the necessary DMV paperwork. In other words, you make a phone call or donate online and your vehicle is picked up – it’s extremely easy.
Your tax break is based on the sale price of the car. When Cars2Charities sells your car, the company sends you the paperwork for your taxes. You simply decide which nonprofit to receive proceeds – any 501(c)(3) is eligible.
College of the Canyons Foundation
The College of the Canyons Foundation is a part of the Santa Clarita Community College District. Helping to fill gaps in state funding, the nonprofit provides financial resources to educators and students to ensure that individuals seeking higher education have the ability to accomplish it. Through a partnership of community members and other supporters, they fill in gaps left by decreasing financial support from state and federal funding.
The College of the Canyons (COC) Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit auxiliary organization formed to generate philanthropic support for College of the Canyons. The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors who are an enthusiastic and committed group of volunteer business and community leaders who donate their time, resources and energy to positively impact educational access in the Santa Clarita Valley. The board's mission is to provide an affordable and accessible college education for all having the desire to succeed.
Like other educational institutions, the college needs charitable gifts to endow scholarships and to support educational programs and capital improvements, which can mean the difference between ordinary and extraordinary programs and services for student success. Through annual giving, special events and scholarship programs, the foundation provides the college with crucial private financial resources.
Giving to a nonprofit like the Foundation can serve as a gesture of support for Teacher Appreciation Week this year.
Established in 1987, the COC Foundation accepts contributions of real estate, bequests and other legacy gifts, as well as cash, to provide specialized educational programs, granting as much as $2.9 million back to the college so far.
Its bylaws indicate the nonprofit foundation can receive gifts for the college from individuals, foundations and corporations. Through these charitable gifts the foundation endows scholarships and supports a variety of educational programs and capital improvements.
Nearly 75 percent of the state of California’s citizens have been educated by community colleges, according to the College of the Canyons Foundation. Unfortunately, however, community colleges only receive 11 percent of the per-student state dollars for education.
The mission of the Foundation is to financially support the Santa Clarita Community College District so they can bring the achievement level beyond its ability with tax dollars alone. The aspects of the school’s offerings hoping to benefit from the fundraising arm include teaching, scholarship, vocational training and innovation.
The Foundation seeks to bring together private enterprise with public educational institutions to make education at this level as affordable and accessible as possible.
Some fast facts about the College of the Canyons Foundation:
• Raised more than $23 million cumulatively over the last 25 years to assist programs and students
• Established more than 200 scholarships that are awarded annually
• Generated more than $5 million toward the University Center and Culinary Arts Capital Campaigns
• Raised more than $1 million for endowed scholarships through the Osher initiative
• Granted more than $255,000 over the last five years in mini-grants to fund innovative projects and academic programs
• Established the Alumni and Athletic Halls of Fame
• Established endowments for the Arts, the Library and the Athletic Track
• Provided funding to build the Cougar Den outdoor meeting area adjacent to the stadium
• Co-founded the Santa Clarita Valley Nonprofit Leadership Network that serves more than 100 local nonprofit organizations and agencies
The City School
If you want to honor Teacher Appreciation Week with a donation, The City School is another charity you can benefit. The Boston nonprofit was launched in 1987 to tackle the problems of homelessness by educating students.
Young students from Milton Academy were posing questions about how to solve problems associated with homelessness and it led to Youth Outreach Weekends, which were designed so that adults could mentor teens on related issues. The weekend retreats looked at the causes of homelessness, and attendees pooled ideas for taking action in order to turn it around.
In 1995, The City School’s Summer Leadership Program began, which continued that learning process for young people. A collaboration between Cathedral High School, Boston Latin School, and Milton Academy, it pulls together a diverse number of teens for leadership training and seminars about important issues. From the beginning, one of the byproducts of the program is a rise in building community and bridging relationships.
Because of Boston’s diversity of neighborhoods, including its suburban areas, the Summer Leadership Program has expanded to place teens in various internships with local nonprofits and Community Action Projects where students get to put into action concrete, meaningful projects throughout the city.
Through these weekend, after-school and summer programs, The City School continues to develop youth leadership, improving their focus on critical thinking, service operations, building community, and taking action.
The long-term leadership skills unite Boston area teens from diverse backgrounds who have a common interest in their concern for social justice. They’re building relationships across gender, race, class and geography to create caring, learning communities committed to making changes for the benefit of all. The City School teens come from neighborhoods as widely divided as Dorchester, Jamaica Plain and Roxbury, as well as from suburbs and outlying communities including Cambridge, Milton, Newton, Ayer, Needham, Brookline, Canton and more.
Many parents – particularly those in two-career homes – need after-school care. A welcome option is a program where their kids get both an opportunity to develop social skills and learn something new. It’s also a chance to throw your support toward a Teacher Appreciation Day.
After School Enrichment, or A.S.E., is a nonprofit program providing a fun, upbeat and educational opportunity to kids in several school districts, including Santa Clarita and the San Fernando Valley. They offer classes from practical arts and crafts to STEM field courses and athletics.
They are all hands-on experiences and teachers are both trained and fingerprinted for safety and security. Bringing a wealth of experience working with and teaching children, many of the teachers hired by A.S.E. have years of experience in professional positions. The organization strives to draw from people in the Greater Los Angeles community who have integrity, morals and good character qualities to ensure that children are exposed to solid role models.
The charity’s leadership is open to new ideas for classes, maintaining a level of flexibility to match the needs of evolving interests of children. Some of the classes offered include:
- Backyard Summer Cooking for kindergarten through sixth grade
- Beginning Baking for kindergarten through sixth grade
- Basketball for first through sixth grade
- Ceramics for first through sixth grade
- Draw and Paint Like a Modern Master for kindergarten through sixth grade
- Introduction to Coding
- LEGO Everyday Engineers
- LEGO Robotics: Star Wars for kindergarten through sixth grade
- LEGO Stop Motion Animation for first through sixth grade
- The Muggle Club
- Video Game Design with Scratch Programming for third through sixth grade
As mentioned, A.S.E. teachers come from a variety of backgrounds, some with a professional background in the subjects they teach, even former college athletes with experience coaching children. There are musicians and dancers with teaching experience who have completed many years of personal instruction, practice and performing, while some of the instructors are longtime homemakers with much to share.
The synergistic advantages of holding “national recognition weeks” enable Americans across the country to create a bigger splash. In the case of National Teacher Appreciation Week, those who contribute so much to the nation’s children get a little bit of applause and extra attention for their efforts, which so often remain under the radar.