How Teacher Appreciation Week Nearly Killed Me Last Year (and How I Plan to Survive This One)

Teachers are da bomb, y’all.  Da. Bomb.

They show up – every single day – no matter what.  Budget cuts, political upheaval, poor working conditions.  Kids from single parent homes, military homes, families living below the poverty line, families who’ve never caught sight of the poverty line.  Kids with no support at home, either because the parents place a minimal value on education or they’re working two or three jobs to pay the bills.

Teachers show up for all of our babies, and they lay it on the line.  Because that’s the only way to reach so many different kids in one classroom.  Because no one goes into teaching for the salary and prestige.

So I’m 110% on board with an official appreciation time for unsung heroes, but I have to admit I’m struggling with the new format.  Not so much that we’re actively encouraged to appreciated our teachers, but that it’s extended into a week long scheduling extravaganza.  Also, it can be a tough haul in May to keep that ball rolling five days in a row.

Teacher Appreciation Week nearly killed me last year, you guys.  It surely did.  I had some sort of mini-breakdown at the end of May after surviving all the end of school, beginning of summer, multiple May milestones – it wasn’t pretty.  So for my own sanity (as well as my family’s), I devised a plan for surviving the first week of May.  I call it:

Parental Survival Skills for Teacher Appreciation Week

I.  Thou shalt not kill yourself baking homemade treats nightly.  Do what you can do, and if that means store bought muffins so be it.

II.  There is no committee for theme enforcement.  The PTO has not assigned bat wielding patrols to hunt down store bought goods and TP the families’ yards.  Sure, there are wacky crack days like Wild West Wednesday! or Unicorn Favorites that Show You Care!, but just do your best.  Then relax if you can’t find the one utterly unique present that will convince your kid’s teacher the drudgery is worth it.

III.  Forgetting to send something in on one of these five magical days does not erase all of the goodwill you’ve established throughout the year.

IIIa.  Don’t be an a**hole.  Teacher appreciation week shouldn’t be the first time your kid’s teacher hears a kind word from you.

IIIb.  Christmas (sorry – “Winter Break”) gifts are great, but try surprising the teacher with some “Just Because” joy.  A little caffeine with snacks is a lifesaver during report card time or professional development days.

IV.  While you get points for creativity, let us speak plainly – if there’s a “Teacher’s Favorites” list available, just get them something they like.  The end goal is to make them feel appreciated, after all.  No need to reinvent the wheel.

V.  Above all else, remember your kid is hauling all this stuff into school.  So while your competitive streak might be pushing you toward building the Taj Mahal of treats, repeat this mantra: hernias are pretty uncool among the under ten crowd.

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