In Appreciation of Teachers

In Appreciation of Teachers

In Appreciation of Teachers

This is officially “Teacher Appreciation Week.” However, EVERY DAY of EVERY WEEK is an opportune time to appreciate all the work that teachers do. Here’s why – and how.

“By understanding and appreciating educators’ work, parents are better able to forge meaningful partnerships with them, leading toward more positive outcomes for kids.”[i]

Teachers have a broad range of tools, skills, resources, networks, and supports, including many that parents may not see or fully appreciate. Teachers plan lessons, prepare instruction, listen, observe, collaborate with others, attend professional development sessions, and seek new ways to motivate students. Teachers promote inquiry, creative expression, and playful exploration in the classroom, and beyond. Teachers differentiate programs, set appropriate expectations, study curriculum guidelines, monitor students’ efforts, offer guidance and assistance, assess progress, write reports, and juggle administrative responsibilities. Teachers demonstrate and teach virtues such as kindness, honesty, respect, integrity, and fairness because children learn from what they see, hear, and experience. Teachers encourage, console, and reinforce others, and still make time to reflect upon their own practice.

Teaching is not just a job—it’s a calling. However, like the rest of us, teachers have areas of strength and weakness, and ways in which they can learn to become more competent. This might involve gaining further insight into how to refine instruction, use technology, apply assessment methods, set goals, and find ways to better support and encourage children’s development, and also their diverse social, emotional, motivational, and other needs. Teachers must be ready to respond flexibly. They also have to strive to be creative so as to foster their students’ creativity. Being an educator is about teaching and learning.

The best teachers are actively engaged in their own personal growth, including making time for family, friends, and colleagues, and for developing their own intelligence and creativity. They demonstrate the importance of all of this. (Check out The Best Teachers: What Do Parents Need to Know?)[ii] They hone their skills, challenging themselves to become more effective day after day, and year after year—and they take pride in their work. But teachers’ work is complex and demanding, and they cannot do it alone or in a vacuum.

Parents who appreciate this will step up to help build effective partnerships with their child’s teachers. By understanding what teachers do, and how they go about doing it, parents are better equipped to be effective collaborators and advocates for children’s learning.



“Collaborative efforts help teachers feel respected, energized, resourceful, and informed, leading to enormous benefits for their students, for the communities they live in, and for tomorrow’s world.”[iii]

It’s important that parents work with their child’s teachers, helping them identify learning needs. Parents can also provide a supportive learning environment at home. Regular and meaningful home and school communication is vital. Parents and teachers must maintain open channels and free-flowing dialogue—especially in these turbulent times. Circumstances are always changing. Indeed, since the start of the pandemic, the very nature of schooling has changed dramatically. There’s been a surge in adaptive methodologies, online activities, technology-based learning, home-based options, community outreach, hybrid teaching and learning models, and so on… Change is inevitable, and collaborative approaches are essential.


“Parents can advocate for enhanced professional development opportunities for teachers, enabling them to better recognize and address their own diverse needs as well as those of their students.”

Parents can encourage teachers’ participation in opportunities to co-create and enhance their own professional growth. This includes supporting teachers’ efforts as they work to ensure that each student’s education aligns with their learning needs, across domains and over time. Teachers also benefit from staying on top of their subject areas, being technologically savvy, and learning more about what they feel they need and want to know. In order to do that, they need access to a continuum of curriculum options, instructional approaches, collaborative networks, resources, and learning opportunities. Effective differentiation processes require this kind of know-how, which can be transformative for educators and students alike. Parents can be instrumental in advocating for more professional development and learning opportunities for their children’s teachers.


“Convey gratitude for the work teachers do.”

Most importantly, parents can convey appreciation to teachers for all that they do to encourage the best possible outcomes for their students. When teachers, counselors, and school administrators know that parents have confidence in them, it enhances their ability to work together. There’s great value to be had by nurturing productive relationships and a climate of trust. It means a great deal when parents convey thanks, kind words, or gestures that demonstrate an awareness of teachers’ efforts and responsibilities, and show that they champion them.


Author's Notes:

[i] The first part of this piece has been adapted from material within the author’s book, ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids: Hundreds of Ways to Inspire Your Child (pp. 136-138).

[ii] See The Best Teachers: What Do Parents Need to Know? at The Creativity Post for twelve ways to understand and further appreciate teachers’ work. The focus of the article is this: “When parents and teachers appreciate one another, work together, and strive toward empowering children to be the best they can be, then everyone benefits.”

[iii] The three quotes in the second part of this article have been excerpted from the book Being Smart about Gifted Learning: Empowering Parents and Kids Through Challenge and Change by Dona Matthews and Joanne Foster—the 3rd edition of the award-winning Being Smart. (In press, coming fall 2021.)


Dr. Joanne Foster is a gifted education specialist and award-winning author of several books. For additional information, and for resources on creativity, gifted education, child development, learning, productivity, and more, go to

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