We’ve had a lot of heroes to celebrate over the past year, among them, and most notably for our community, the over 4 million U.S. K-12 teachers! While thanking teachers should not be a once-a-year event, we have an opportunity with Teacher Appreciation Week 2021, May 3-7, to share our gratitude. This year, more than ever, we owe them our thanks for their unwavering dedication and commitment to their students and their families.
We’d like to recognize the ways teachers went above and beyond during a year that was riddled with change and uncertainty. In 2021, let’s particularly appreciate teachers for:
- Flexibility. A little more than a year ago, teachers had to make the switch to remote learning with little or no notice. They did it with grace and a sense of humor, sometimes having to learn new technology platforms on the fly. Since then, many returned to the classroom but only a few days a week. Others are teaching students both face-to-face in the classroom and virtually at the same time.
- Innovation. Having to take lesson plans developed for face-to-face instruction and make them work for teaching remotely required teachers to innovate. Some made brief learning videos to engage students in the curriculum. Others took advantage of the capabilities of the technology to differentiate instruction and encourage collaboration. Many report that while teaching remotely posed challenges, it also helped them to rethink their instructional strategies and connect with students in new ways. When they returned to the classroom, they had to think of strategies for teaching concepts like phonics while wearing a face mask.
- Creativity. Faced with teaching in new models, teachers quickly pivoted to engage with their students and create community. They created Bitmoji classrooms with avatars for themselves and their students and used them to run their virtual classrooms, providing students with a sense of familiarity and connection. They discovered new resources, such as amazing virtual field trips–no permission slips needed–or online read-alouds featuring their students’ favorite authors.
- Caring and kindness. Teachers have always demonstrated that they care about their students and their families in numerous ways, but this past year they’ve taken things to the next level. They’ve delivered learning supplies, like pencils, pens, glue, paper, and books, to students who don’t have access to them. When students weren’t participating in remote learning, teachers rallied the troops and visited their homes to connect. And when the stress of juggling all of this change became a bit too much, teachers cared about one another, supporting their colleagues in small and large ways online.
Let’s all remember to praise the ways that teachers rose to the occasion over the past year and “appreciate” them every day; especially during this special week that recognizes their fantastic contributions and unmatched dedication. For ideas on how to recognize educators during this year’s Teacher Appreciation Week, contact us or visit WeAreTeachers.