When someone says “Random Acts of Kindness” I always think of that time I pulled up to the Starbucks drive through window and the barista handing me my coffee and telling me the car ahead had paid for my order. It felt so good (and not just because of the free coffee) that I bought a Starbucks gift card and tucked it under someone's windshield wiper in the Walmart parking lot. Random Acts of Kindness can be lots of things in lots of different places. I'm sharing some Random Acts of Kindness for teachers…if anyone deserves an unexpected bit of joy in their day, it is your child's teacher so if you're looking for random acts of kindness ideas for teachers, I can definitely get you started.
This is an updated post. There are references to teaching and parenting in the age of COVID-19, quarantine, and home learning. Not all of the suggestions for ways you can do random acts of kindness for teachers are going to be practical right now but I included them because they're great things to do in normal times…and I'm holding on to the hope that there will be normal times again.
Random Acts of Kindness for Teachers – Things you can do to show appreciation
We are really in a strange time right now, friends. We're in a time where we're appreciating our teachers and what they're doing right now more than ever. I am so in awe of the way our teachers are adapting right. I'm in awe of the way WE ARE ALL adapting right now. We. Are. Rocking. This. But, teachers, are especially rocking this.
There was a time where I wouldn’t have been the one starting a conversation about random acts of kindness for teachers much less compiling a list of random acts of kindness ideas for teachers. I haven’t always been kind or charitable towards my kids’ teachers. That sounds terrible, right? I used to be that parent who’d be annoyingly sweet to the teacher’s face while getting in a passive-aggressive dig about copious amounts of homework, standardized testing or how ridiculous I thought the 100 Days of School project was.
Enter COVID-19, social distancing and remote learning. Teachers are rock stars.
My “aha” moment came when I saw my kids' teachers on a Zoom call. I saw how much they care about our kids and how much our kids are a part of their daily landscape. It also made me see them as humans who are all in this with us versus “just teachers.”
I'm not sure if our teachers are still getting paid – I hope they are but I'm not sure. Either way, they don't make a large salary and although I’m sure there are exceptions, the vast majority of teachers are teachers because they care about the education of our children. So yeah…random acts of kindness for a teacher started seeming more and more like something I should be tuned into.
A lot of these ideas aren't practical right now because of social distancing and our schools being closed. Donating items to the school or creating a teacher's lounge gift basket aren't going to help anyone out right now but I've included them because there will be “the other side” to this and things will go back to normal and I think it is important to remember to look for ways to share appreciation for teachers on a regular basis.
A lot of these ideas will make great holiday or acknowledge teacher appreciation week gifts. Do what you can now, tuck this list away for later – pin it to Pinterest! – and make someone's day.
1. Send an email
Let your child's teacher know what they have done that you especially appreciate. Ask how they're doing, how this new way of learning or school closures has impacted them.
2. Give your child's teacher a gift card
Amazon is probably never a bad choice but also consider a gift card to Target, Staples, Walmart or any other all-purpose store. They'll probably use it to buy stuff for your kids but include a note to use it on whatever they need…because they need to take care of themselves.
3. Just buy stuff for your child's school
Always ask what the needs are but in general, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, paper towels and soap will be appreciated. Check with your child's school to see what the correct delivery address is.
You might also like: Keep Kids Busy With These Fun Hands-On Story Activities
4. Get to know your child's teacher
Do you know your teacher’s birthday? Favorite hobby? Is she a chocoholic or a wine lover? Knowing a little bit about your teacher’s life outside the classroom can help you hone in on how to give the gift of kindness.
And no, a random act of kindness doesn’t have to involve a buying something but taking some time to get to know your teacher as a person might spark some ideas on how to keep the kindness flowing. If she’s a cat person or a Houston Astros fan, a heartfelt note written on a piece of note paper decorated with cats or a reference to her team winning the World Series is going to make her day.
5. Random Acts of Kindness for Teachers: Donate to their class library
Consider giving the teacher a subscription to a magazine or other educational service. Check beforehand to see what she’s got and if she has a wish list.
If the teacher utilizes digital books or any sort of subscription service, this is a great time to add to that or gift a month or two.
6. Ask for the teacher's Amazon wish list
I guarantee your teacher has a list of things she needs (and wants) for her classroom. A lot of the things she uses on a daily basis don’t come from your tax dollars; they come from her pocket. Make her day and ask for her wish list.
7. Get your kids involved in random acts of kindness for teachers
Ask your kids what they love about their teacher. You can get the best random acts of kindness ideas for teachers just by talking to your child…and you can bet it will be something you never thought of. If you’re making a card or writing a gratitude note, let your kids help out. Even if they’re too young to write complete sentences, maybe they can write their name or decorate the card or paper with stickers or drawings.
My son’s second-grade teacher gave kids who got a 100% on their spelling test a piece of gum to chew during the next week’s test. If I hadn’t asked “What’s your favorite thing about your teacher?” I would have never known this. Getting to chew gum at school is a big deal when you're seven.
8. Don't keep your praise to yourself
One of the greatest acts of kindness for a teacher is letting others know how awesome they are. Don't keep your praise to yourself – if a teacher has done something exceptional, shout it out. Most schools have some sort of teacher recognition forum, such as “teacher of the month.” Check to see if your community or school district has a teacher recognition or awards program you can nominate your teacher for.
Send a note to the principal or vice principal to let them know why your teacher rocks. Compliments are one of the best random acts of kindness for teachers we can bestow.
And also? If you think your principal is doing an amazing job, he or she has a boss, too. Pass on that praise!
9. Just say thank you
Random acts of kindness for a teacher doesn't have to be complicated. That might sound too simple but a sincere, verbal thank you is never a bad idea.
Reach out by whatever means you have – Class Dojo, email, text, or pop your head into your child's next Zoom meeting with their class and say “Thanks so much, Mrs. So-and-So!” Simple.
P.S. You may or may not mortify your child but do it anyway.
10. Don't forget the staff and specials
The non-teaching staff (office workers, cafeteria workers, and custodians) deserve your thanks and kindness too. These hard-working folks are often overlooked.
If you don't know how these people are being utilized during the time of school closures – ask. Find out what your school or district is doing for them and if there's a gap to be bridged, try to bridge it.
Also, think about the music teacher, the art teacher and the librarian. Teachers that don’t have their own static class are making a tremendous impact on our kids so don’t forget about them when lining up your plan for random acts of kindness for teachers.
11. Write it down on your calendar
We tend to focus on teacher appreciation during certain times of year: Christmas, Teacher Appreciation Week, or the end of the school year. Mark your calendar for March and resolve to perform a random act of kindness for teachers during a time where she might be lacking kudos and encouragement.
12. Create a “teacher’s lounge” gift basket
Put together a basket with bottled water, bottled coffee or tea drinks, fun and healthy snacks, and maybe some fun and not-so-healthy snacks. Everyone likes chocolate, right?
Tuck a note or card into the basket letting the staff know how much you appreciate them and value their contributions.
13. Create a “staff restroom” gift basket
Bundle a selection of pretty soaps, hand sanitizer and air freshener into a container and drop it off at the front office. You could also include some common toiletry items such as hairspray or wet wipes. You could even splurge for some of the nice toilet paper…because I do believe in a day in the future where toilet paper will again be plentiful in all the land.
A version of this post originally appeared on Wondermom Wanneabe