Teacher Appreciation Week goes virtual

Teachers around the globe have had to adapt to the changes brought to the classroom by COVID-19. With more than 90 percent of the world’s schools closed, teacher appreciation week might have been forgotten due to the concerns of virtual learning. But students are trying to show their love to the teachers they haven’t gotten to see in two months. 

 “I sent out an email to each teacher, expressing my gratitude,” Gabby Wills (10) said. “I addressed each teacher’s unique contribution. Every email had a different message in it.” 

And Wills isn’t alone in showing her appreciation.

I received a number of emails from different students throughout the week, and it was sweet to read them,” English teacher Lisa Rehm said. “I feel lucky because I had people thinking of me throughout the whole week, and they took some extra time to let me know.”

In the past, students have purchased gifts for their teachers gifts to express their gratitude, but because of the lockdown, they’ve had to resort to other methods. 

I would ask my parents to allow me to buy special gifts for each of my teachers,” Annelise Williams (10) said. “It ranges from candles to things like mini-fountains. I really love doing it since they’re usually surprised and it makes me happy that they appreciated it.” 

The school’s administration usually hosts a teacher appreciation barbecue during the week, but due to social-distancing, it had to take another approach. 

[Principal Rick] Fleming shared letters from parents that he had received and those letters were up-lifting,” Rehm said. “Our PTA mailed each of us a handwritten thank you card with a gift card for a Publix sub. That was quite a happy surprise.”

French teacher Sean Regan said he has been shown appreciation not just this week, but throughout the past month through video conferences and emails. 

“I’ve gotten very nice messages from students and parents of students,” he said. “Those always make (me) feel special personally and encourage me in my job.”

Most teachers don’t seem to be bothered by the lack of tangible appreciation like they usually receive. 

“I doubt any teacher in school truly has any bad thoughts about the changes of teacher appreciation,” Williams said. “Teachers miss their students now more than ever, a note will more than likely make their day.” 

Rehm said she is thankful for the recognition. 

“All things considered, I feel appreciated — and that’s the most important part,” Rehm said. “This has been a tough time for so many people. To know that I am cared about by the people I care for is not a mandatory part of teaching — but it is a definite benefit.” 

By Riley Harper