Monday, May 14, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Wrap-Up

Teacher Appreciation week is over and it's time to reflect on what worked and what did not.

  • We did a teacher luncheon, with chicken salad croissants, chips, cookies and drinks. This was a complete success! We decorated the tables with flowers from another mom's yard, dimmed the lights, and had soft music playing. Parents took over lunch duty in the cafeteria so teachers could enjoy 20 minutes of peace. The teachers were as happy about having a peaceful lunch as they were about the actual lunch. This is a definite do-again!
  • Bottles of water with packets of lemonade tied on, along with a sticker that said   Thanks forQuenchingmy thirst!
Actually, the sticker looked cuter than what I have above...but either way, the teachers loved it. We unfortunately did not have the waters chilled. It was hard to figure out a way to chill 95 waters, without just dumping water in a cooler, which would ruin the labels. This is a do-again, as well.
  • Thanks to some nice donations from Staples, we gave each class a bag of school supplies, including file folders, post-it notes, paper clips, and candy. Unfortunately, we did not have enough supplies for every teacher and staff member, so we substituted just a bag of candy for other staff members and assistant teachers. Next year, I would do this differently...although I'm not quite sure what I would do. It caused some confusion among staff members, why some people got one thing, and others got something else. Maybe we should've tried to secure more school supply donations or just used money from our budget to buy enough to make up the difference. Another solution would be to offer school supplies for each classroom, but candy for each teacher and staff member...that way the school supplies would be going toward something in a legitimate and measurable way.

We had also enclosed the Teacher Appreciation letter, which was greatly appreciated. Some of the classroom teachers, we were able to get their kids signatures on the outside of an envelope that we put the letter in. 
For other staff members, I got my kids to write a message or draw a picture on the outside of the envelope. Below is an example...it says, "Thank you for encouraging me to do "mah" best. I want to make u proud." Several of the cafeteria staff were so pleased with their messages and pictures that they photocopied them so they could have one to take home and one to keep in the cafeteria.
  • Thanks to another generous donation, Home Depot gave us 95 potted petunias. We knew this would be a good gift and had beautiful ribbon and stickers that said..., Thanks for helping me GROW                              

What we didn't keep in mind was that Home Depot waters their plants first thing in the morning...and that was exactly when we were going to pick them up. So all the plants were wet and messy, making it hard for the stickers to stick. Plus, since we did not pre-cut the ribbon, it was going to take forever to cut and tie 95 ribbons, so that was left off. Next year, I would've picked up the flowers the day before and had some other parents help with cutting and putting the ribbons on. It would've made the difference between a good gift and a great gift!
  • At one of our PTA Board meetings, we had a cookie dough company come and talk to us about selling their cookie dough next year. We mentioned that Teacher Appreciation Week was coming and they graciously donated cookies for one day. The cookies were delivered to the school, already baked, so all I had to do was package the cookies in the little cellophane packets they also donated. There were enough cookies for 3 per bag and I put a sticker on the outside that said You are one smart cookie,  along with clip-art of cookies. They were very cute stickers and it sealed the bag without having to staple or tape. The company even provided enough cookies that the bus drivers were able to have some...which is a real treat, because we had not included them in anything else and I'm not sure they receive any accolades any other time of the year. This was another do-again, as the teachers always love food!
  • There was one day that would definitely be done differently...we had planned to bring coffee one morning for the teachers, but another mom had decided that since the teachers did not drink all the coffee last time, that we should skip it this time. I did not find this out until after lunchtime the day before. In a pinch for ideas and time, I simply went to the grocery where they had Coke products Buy 3 Get 2 Free. Our teachers love some Diet Coke...in fact, that's about all the ever drink! So I got 5 cases of Diet Coke and stocked the refrigerator in the small, sad lounge (which is actually the nurses's office). I also had a large tub of peppermints that I put in the teacher's workroom. This day I would definitely do different, and it will definitely be looked at for next year.
Overall, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the treats and felt sufficiently spoiled, which was our intent. Many times, teaching is a thankless job and an elementary student does not usually realize how much time and effort teachers and support staff put into preparing for a day at school. We are lucky that we are at a school were teachers care so much about their students and go above and beyond to ensure their successes.

I would love to hear what you or your child did for their teacher's during Teacher Appreciation Week....
 

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