How to thank a teacher

This year’s National Teachers’ Appreciation week could not have come at a better time. With every parent now forced into the role of their child’s teacher during the COVID-19 pandemic, is there any parent of school age children out there who doesn’t think teachers deserve a raise?! We encourage all our parents to do what they can to recognize and express hakarat hatov (appreciation) to their children’s teachers.

As the Chicago Jewish community’s hub of quality learning, funding and advocacy, we have seen firsthand the works it has required of our schools to facilitate virtual learning practically overnight. This unprecedented time in our modern history has forced all of us to adapt, and teachers have led the charge in ensuring children keep learning and growing even now. They’ve taken steps to assure the well being of their students and have been a calming force of normalcy for students facing so much uncertainty. And they’ve done this on top of managing their own families’ struggles at home.

Following are a few ways you and your children can thank teachers

  1. Write a letter or email: It’s human nature to speak up with complaints, but when is the last time you took the time to offer thanks and gratitude for a job well done? Take a moment to specifically express your gratitude to your children’s teachers. Point out what you have noticed has gone well. A hand written letter or card from you and your child or even an email can go a long way to support a teacher. If you send an email, consider Ccing the administration so that they can also recognize a job well done.
  2. Make a sign and send a photo: Teachers typically enter this profession because love what they do, and right now they are missing the opportunity to connect with their students. Even if your children are having Zoom classes or phone calls with their teachers, it’s not the same as being together. Take a photo of your child with a card or poster he or she made, and you will no doubt make a teacher’s day. If you and your school are on social media, post it there and tag the school to encourage everyone to do the same.
  3. Give a gift: Monetary gifts certainly aren’t necessary, but they do go a long way. Everyone is shopping online these days, so a gift card to Amazon or Target is easy and appreciated. Some of the ATT schools are collecting funds for teacher gifts too, so we encourage you to join this if you can. Not all gifts have to cost money, though. We are a tight knit community, so if you know a teacher personally, your child could deliver a handmade craft like a friendship bracelet, beaded key chain or painted rock to a deserving teacher.
  4. Nominate a teacher for the Hartman Family Foundation Teacher of the Year Award: We believe so strongly in the power of recognizing teachers that we host an annual teacher award where three teachers earn a cash prize and the honor of being named an educator of the year. We can think of no better way to express your gratitude to our teachers than to nominate them for this esteemed award that will be given out next year.

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