It’s time to say, “thank you” to an educator. The first full week of May is celebrated as National Teacher Appreciation Week, a tradition begun in 1984 by the National PTA®. It coincides with the National Education Association’s National Teacher Day on May 8th. Whether you spend the week expressing gratitude or take one day to honor a teacher, your actions make a difference in boosting the morale of those who work hard day after day to build the mind of your child.
Who to Thank
Our initial reaction is to recognize those who currently serve our children as their primary teacher. But teacher appreciation doesn’t have to be relegated to one or two individuals on the elementary or middle school level. Our children interact with many different educators in their lifetimes – classroom teachers, PE instructors, and extracurricular leaders such as piano teachers and sports coaches. Sometimes the most validating words of thanks come from former students who recall the ongoing influence of a teacher from their earlier years. We should consider reaching beyond today’s schoolroom when encouraging our child to thank a teacher.
What to Do
By the time Teacher’s Appreciation Week rolls around in May, many a teacher has had their fill of students. They’re ready for a bit of encouragement and appreciation. However, if you’re like my family, you’ve seen the lines of children bearing freshly cut lilac bouquets. You’ve witnessed the parade of apple-themed gifts and teacher mugs. And you’re ready to do something different. Try this craft with your child. The simple pour and stir instructions make it a gift a child of any age can help create and present with pride. Plus it’s one that’s sure to provide a soothing end to any teacher’s day:
Layered Scented Bath Salts
2 cups Epsom salts
½ cup rock salt or sea salt
4-5 drops peppermint, or other scented essential oil (found in organic food stores)
2-3 drops food coloring
usage note tag
pint jar or decorative bottle
Place one cup of the Epsom salts and ¼ cup of rock salt in a mixing bowl. Add 2-3 drops of essential oil and mix until evenly distributed.
Place the remaining cup of Epsom salts and ¼ cup of rock salt in a separate bowl. Add the food coloring and mix until the color blends well and you are pleased with the shade. Add 2-3 drops of essential oil and stir well.
In a jar or clear bottle layer the white salts and colored salts. You want to create a striped effect. Place the top on your container – for an added touch, you can decorate the top with ribbon or fabric or tie it with a bow.
You can also include a tag containing instructions to pour a half-cup scoop of the salts into the bath under running water.
Yield: 20 ounces. Enough for one to two gifts.
(Taken from the book Pampering Gifts, Belleview, Ontario: Guardian Books, 2007)
Have fun creating your own mix of scents and colors. Lavender, peppermint or spearmint, and citrus blends work well.
Just say “Thanks”
Whether you make a gift, buy a gift or show an act of kindness, make sure you or your child expresses gratitude in words. The simplest gift becomes meaningful when a teacher learns exactly what positive impact they’ve been having on your child. Ask your child to write a short note or make a drawing that shares one trait they like about their teacher or a specific instance where the teacher made a difference for them. If the teacher has also had an impact on you as a parent, consider enclosing a note of your own.
For more ideas, check out http://www.pta.org/teacher_appreciation.asp
Lara Krupicka is the author of Pampering Gifts and mom to three school-aged girls.