For the last two years, I have co-chaired the Teacher Appreciation Week committee at my son’s elementary school. It’s a big job, but it’s honestly so much fun. I love surprising our amazing teachers and staff with treats all week long, and there’s really no one more deserving. Anytime I mention it, I get asked to share some Teacher Appreciation Week ideas – and since Teacher Appreciation Week is next week, I figured it was high time I do it!
So, let’s jump into it! Today I’ll share some Teacher Appreciation Week ideas, along with what we’re doing. Once it’s all over, I’ll come back and recap it so the ideas can live on for years to come.
Teacher Appreciation Week Theme
This year, our theme is “Teaching Rainbow” and we’re showing our teachers how they put the color into our worlds! It’s a super simple theme that (so far) has proven really easy to plan for. Just think all the colors and you’re good to go!
One of our biggest goals with Teacher Appreciation Week (and any PTA activity!) is to garner as much community participation as possible. We want everyone to feel like they’re a part of it.
So, we put together a little graphic to send home giving families ideas for ways they can show their teachers some love for free or really cheap. It includes dress up ideas for each day (super easy with a rainbow theme!) and an idea for something they can do for their teachers.
A local printing company was generous enough to donate their services to print enough for us to send one home with every kid in their weekly take-home folder. We also had them print two poster-sized versions that we hung on the doors of the school.
The poster-sized versions have a QR code that parents can scan to be taken directly to the sign-up page where they can volunteer their time or physical items to make the week happen!
Teacher Appreciation Week Ideas + Schedule
In addition to the community participation, our committee plans and executes a couple of fun things for our teachers every day throughout the week. We save almost all of our committee budget for this week so we can go all out. We also ask for donations from the community (mostly of things like food, treats, and gift cards – you’ll see why in a minute) and from local businesses.
Here’s a peek at our schedule for this year:
All of the teachers get this graphic in their email a couple of weeks out, so they can start anticipating the fun! Here’s a breakdown of what it all means:
Lunch will be delivered for the teachers, and we’ll open up the most anticipated part of Teacher Appreciation Week – the Zen Den! We started this last year, and our teachers literally created a petition that they hung on the door begging their principal to let them keep it year-round!
How does it work? We coordinate with the principal to find a room in the school they can let us take over for the week. Then, we come in over the weekend and transform it into a relaxing space. Think blow-up mattresses, bean bags, sound machines, lots of books, and lamps so they don’t have to turn the lights on. We stock it with eye masks and novels and blankets, and it’s a space where teachers can go on their breaks to just breathe a minute.
It was so fun to watch their excitement last year when we first tried it out, and it immediately became a staple of Teacher Appreciation Week for our school!
On Tuesday morning, we’ll set up a rainbow-themed snack bar in the teacher’s lounge. Picture a big ol’ table with all the red snacks grouped together, all the orange snacks grouped together, and so on. Teachers can come in at their leisure and grab what they’re in the mood for!
Also, around lunch time, we’ll be picking up and delivering Sonic drinks to every teacher and staff member! We have them submit their order ahead of time and print labels to drop off at our local Sonic. They make and label all of the drinks for us, and we pick them up and bring them around. It’s always a big hit, and it’s very affordable, too!
A local frozen yogurt company is offering fro-yo bars for Teacher Appreciation week, and this will be our first time trying this out. We figured it was perfect for a rainbow themed week! They’ll deliver cups of frozen yogurt in three (pre-selected) flavors, along with toppings. We chose three toppings from them and will likely supplement with some of our own.
It’ll get spread out in the lounge, and teachers can come in to make their own midday treat!
In the afternoon, we’re repeating another big hit from last year – a gift card wall! We asked the community to donate $5 gift cards from a variety of places (like Starbucks, Target, and a few local spots). We’ll tape them all up in the lounge and teachers can come by to grab one! There’s enough for every staff member to get a gift card, including the custodial and cafeteria staff!
Thursday morning we’ll set up a breakfast bar before school. A local donut shop has donated a bunch of donuts, and our local Panera is setting aside their leftover bakery items from the day before – so this one is largely provided by local businesses! We’ll supplement with some fruit, options for our gluten free teachers, and drinks.
Around lunchtime, a local coffee company will park their coffee in the front of the school. Teachers can head outside and order anything they want off the menu.
And finally, to wrap up the week we’re providing another lunch. This time it comes in the form of a giant charcuterie spread in the lounge! My co-chair and best friend is the charcuterie board queen. I’ll be helping her put together a massive board the teachers can come by and grab from.
To wrap it all up, we’re surprising the teachers with some custom tumblers that one of our committee members is making.
How Are We Making It Happen?!
I know – it’s a lot! We are swinging big this year. Thankfully, we have a few ladies on our committee who are really great at seeking out donations from local businesses. And, we have a really active community that loves to support our school. Several things on our schedule (including the charcuterie spread and breakfast) are fully covered by donations from local businesses. Others (like the coffee truck and catered lunch) we received generous discounts on!
The biggest lesson I’ve learned in my two years of coordinating Teacher Appreciation Week is that you never know what you can get until you ask! We’ve been surprised time and again by the generosity of local businesses. We always thank them by mentioning them in our monthly PTA newsletter and offering to display any business cards or flyers they’d like at the portion of the week they’re sponsoring.
And of course, I’d be remiss to not acknowledge that a piece of it is simply that we’re lucky to be at a school with a really active and engaged community. Our PTA has worked really hard from day one to facilitate an environment where families want to be involved and feel welcome to be involved. It makes a huge difference!
And that’s it. Aaaaaaall the Teacher Appreciation Week ideas and activities we have planned for our awesome teachers and staff next week. Stay tuned, I’ll be sure to update you after on how it all goes!