Don’t get me wrong: Teachers deserve more than a day of appreciation. And while I’m in favor of showing gratitude to those who devote their lives to educating our youth, I’m also aware of the fact that teachers are a pretty busy bunch. They can’t be showered with gifts every single day! That’s why, for Teacher Appreciation Week.
As Teacher Appreciation Week approaches, it’s time for parents to start thinking about how they can thank their children’s teachers for all the hard work they do. In addition to buying flowers and candy, parents should consider giving their kids’ teachers something they really want: a good night’s sleep.
I would write a standard article for teacher appreciation week. I really wanted to, but it didn’t feel natural. Don’t get me wrong. I love teaching and I love teachers. However, it’s hard to be optimistic when our profession is literally being turned into a pawn in America’s endless culture wars.
Teacher appreciation week comes at a time when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is accusing Education Secretary Miguel Cardona of promoting a politicized and divisive agenda in teaching American history. Political historian Heather Cox Richardson called McConnell’s accusations a desperate attempt to turn history education into a culture war.
McConnell and 36 of his colleagues strongly oppose plans to integrate racial, ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity into teaching and learning. Yes, you read that right.
With their opposition, the politicization of education continues, fueling distrust of teachers and their ability to teach the entire history of our country, including the parts that make the dominant culture uncomfortable. However, their resilience also brings some additional challenges.
For starters, it perpetuates the false notion that teachers are part of a collective political machine to advance a liberal agenda. I’m not sure when teaching the entire history of our country – which includes wonderful and terrible times – became synonymous with liberal ideology, but I thought teaching our children meant giving them all the facts and helping them develop the critical thinking skills necessary to draw their own conclusions. If teaching uncomfortable and scary truths about systematic oppression in our country makes me a snowflake, call me Frosty. Ultimately, we must teach the truth.
Yes, America is a racist country. No, you don’t have to teach my kids anything if you don’t agree with it.
But worse, those who seek to defend existing power structures undermine the achievements of critical race theory and the ability of anti-racist teachers to have difficult conversations in their classrooms, making the work of these teachers even more difficult. Instead of fighting the culture of anti-racist teachers, who are perfectly capable of having difficult conversations, and equating this with indoctrination, we should strive for collective autonomy and respect the professional expertise of anti-racist teachers by trusting them to act as skilled facilitators in their classrooms.
Are all teachers willing to commit? No. And it’s a crime that harms black and brown children. Therefore, we need to have conversations about the best way to develop an entire profession of teachers trained in anti-racist practices and knowledge of critical race theory. Currently, few administrators fund the training needed for anti-racist education, and many discourage teachers from doing this work. But this disregard for critical race theory and anti-racist teachers blocks progress and distracts from the conversations that lawmakers and school officials should be having.
No, you don’t have to teach black children if you reject anti-racism.
Finally, participation in anti-racist practices can lead to real and transformative progress. If we do not, we are only perpetuating a status quo that excludes large portions of our children, our families and our communities. When we equip and trust teachers to have difficult conversations in their classrooms, the goal is not to reach agreement on every topic, but to develop a sense of understanding.
Democracy can only work if we can have civilized discussions about the things we disagree on, and if we try to find ways to better understand each other even when we disagree. By talking, listening and disagreeing, we find a common humanity that is a condition for progress.
To understand how this plays out in the classroom, let’s take a hypothetical example:
Imagine that you are suffering from an excruciating and debilitating disease. It’s festering inside of you, and you’re desperate for a cure. Your family and friends argue about the cause of your condition, and some even claim that your disease doesn’t exist, even though you’ve been suffering from debilitating symptoms for weeks.
They go to a local doctor and learn that the government only allows him to give treatment based on a certain political ideology. She could inject mercury or administer leeches. Meanwhile, the disease continues to overwhelm your immune system and you make little or no progress.
We expect physicians to use their professional judgment and autonomy to make the best decisions about our care. We do not criticize his agency as being political. We don’t think they indoctrinate their patients when they prescribe a treatment plan or a medication. They do their job as they are trained and we have full confidence in their skills. Maybe you see where I’m going?
Valuing teachers in everyday life
If we really want to support teachers during teacher’s week and beyond, I have a few suggestions that will have a much more lasting effect than a free cup of coffee:
- Choose public school advocates who support equal access to education for all children and require policymakers to fully fund public schools so that teachers have the resources they need to promote learning in their classrooms.
- Help defend public education (because it is the foundation of our democracy) and support your school districts as they present their needs to the public.
- Involve teachers with different perspectives and life experiences in your decision-making and listen, for heaven’s sake! Teachers are in a unique position to tell how policies affect the students in their classrooms, making their voices, in addition to those of the students, extremely important in decision-making.
- Insist that teachers receive quality training in critical race theory to prepare them for anti-racist pedagogy, to be prepared to have difficult conversations in their classrooms, and to support them in their efforts to engage in anti-racist practices rather than politicize their efforts to do so.
- Finally, and most importantly, trust teachers to do their jobs as professionals – as the experts they are. Just like you go to your doctor.
This source has been very much helpful in doing our research. Read more about teacher appreciation gift ideas during covid and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you give a teacher for Appreciation Week?
You’ve got a few months to figure out what to give your child’s teachers for Appreciation Week, and we’re here to help with some ideas. No matter the teacher, if you’re looking for a gift that won’t break the bank, we’ve got you covered. In a perfect world, you’d be able to do something for each teacher, but with the average American teacher teaching around 35 kids, it can be hard to keep up. However, with a little bit of thought, you can take your appreciation to the next level, and the best part is that you don’t have to spend much at all to get the job done.
Teacher Appreciation Week is just around the corner, and if you’re like most students, you might be wondering what to get your favorite educator. However, our experts recommend that you steer clear of gift cards or other impersonal items. Instead, show your appreciation by giving them a personalized gift that they can treasure for years to come.
What teachers really want for gifts?
Teachers have a reputation for being hard to shop for. What do you get for the person who spends most of their time in classrooms? The answer is simple: a gift that will help them bring their passion for teaching into the classroom. Teachers can always use supplies, and a gift certificate to a bookstore or educational supply store never goes amiss. But if you want to give something that says, “I’m thinking of you, and I’m thinking about how you spend your time,” you’ll want to consider one of these 10 suggestions: #10 – A Gift for the Body From comfortable clothing to a massage, teachers can always use some pampering. #9 – A Gift for Did you know that some teachers dread the holidays because of all the pressure to get the perfect gift and to have everything look perfect? It’s true! It can be stressful! It’s so much easier to just buy a gift card, but so much more valuable to give a thoughtful gift.
What do you say to your teacher on Teacher Appreciation Week?
Teachers are busy people who have to deal with students all day, so it’s no surprise that they have a lot of expenses. To show your appreciation for your teacher, be aware of what they need and make sure you have it covered. If your teacher is a coffee addict , getting her a Starbucks gift card is a great idea. If your teacher loves to read , a Barnes and Noble gift card is an excellent choice. If your teacher has a sweet tooth, it’s worth getting her some chocolates or baked goods. No matter what you do, just make sure to show your teacher how much you care.
As the school year winds down, it is time for Teacher Appreciation Week. It is a time for the students to say thank you to their teachers for all they have done to help them. There are many ways to show your appreciation, from gifts, to making cards, to a treat they can eat during their lunch break. The way you show appreciation is up to you and the teacher’s preferences. But, if you are stuck for ideas on how to show how much you appreciate your teacher, here are a few suggestions.