A week of gratitude for a lasting impact: Teacher Appreciation Week 2021

Children celebrating their teacher. (Photo by PTO Today.)

Children celebrating their teacher. (Photo by PTO Today.)

Emily Wallner, Staff Writer

Teachers take so much part in the development of students. Not only do they educate them, but they also play a role in preparing them for life as they discover themselves. If you think about it, these teachers are spending more time with students than the student’s own family. 

Teachers do so much for students, even when it complicates their job. Especially through this pandemic, the education system has looked a lot different. It all comes together, though, thanks to the staff of these schools. In addition to making education accessible and achievable to students, some teachers have helped in so many ways. I know many students, including myself, who have had their lives changed by a teacher. This impact will last a lifetime for students, but we only publicly celebrate the work of teachers for a week. 

Teacher Appreciation Week is an American national holiday celebrated every year during the first full week of May. This year, it starts on Monday, May 3 and goes until Friday, May 7. Tuesday May 4 is National Teacher Day. During this week, teachers can get freebies at restaurants, coupons at stores, and their school and students will usually recognize them. 

Many restaurants in America are rewarding teachers with free or discounted items during the week when they present their School ID. USA Today published an article sharing the different restaurants and what they are doing to celebrate. They advertised things like O’Charley’s giving teachers a free slice of pie and Buffalo Wild Wings giving them 20% off their bill. 

This year, Teacher Appreciation Week is even more important due to the extra work being put in for the pandemic. According to RAND, a non profit research group, “…44% of teachers in the United States left in 2020 due to the pandemic.” Many of those teachers felt burned out and overly stressed due to the rapid change in the education system for COVID-19.

There are many ways to show your appreciation for teachers! Some students will buy small gifts or gift cards for their teachers, but you don’t have to spend money to show your admiration. You can make them a card, help them after class, or even just thank them! If you have an online class where you do not see your teacher, a simple thank you or emailing them will be sure to make them smile. 

Dr. Shrager’s class surprised him over zoom. (Photo by Adam Shrager.)

In December 2020, students at TCNJ surprised their Statistics Professor, Dr. Adam Shrager during their Zoom class. His 31 students all held up handmade signs to their cameras, thanking their teacher. In an interview with Today, Dr. Shrager said, “It’s been the roughest semester of my teaching career, but somehow we got through it. For it to end like this is genuinely beautiful and pretty crazy.” One of his students posted the video to TikTok, gaining millions of views and inspiring other students to show their appreciation to their own teachers.

Junior AJ Thompson at Madison-Plains High School was asked how he is celebrating his teachers this week. He replied, “I am writing letters to thank my teachers for what they have done for me.” 

Other teachers and the administration also celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week! Brock Wysong, Vice Principal at Madison-Plains High School, is showing his appreciation for teachers this week as well. He said, “Our teachers are a caring and flexible group of teachers who work hard every day and have gone above and beyond this year in the era of COVID.”

Therefore, the first full week of May every year is dedicated to Teacher Appreciation Week. There are many simple ways to show recognition to teachers! How did you contribute to the acknowledgement of your teachers?