Still Time to Say Thank-You

If you haven’t had a chance to thank your children’s teachers yet, but would like to – no worries. It’s never too late.

In fact, sending a simple, genuine note of  thanks to your child’s teacher means more that any gift could ever buy. If your child has had a terrific year, or has a teacher who’s made a positive impact in some way, thanking that teacher has a lasting effect.

Elementary teachers do far more than we know or see. They supervise two dozen squirmy kids for more than six hours five days a week. They blow noses, comfort tummy aches and listen to our kids’ endless stories. They sculpt minds. They re-teach a lesson in the front of the room and know exactly what’s going on in the back. They use their own money to buy classroom books and supplies. They stay up late correcting tests. They worry about the students they’re not reaching. They care and connect with each of “their kids” 180 days a year.

Three teachers that my children had – and many others I know – keep a special drawer of thank you notes. Notes from families of kids they taught five years ago. From students they still remember 12 years later. From kids in their classroom today. Thank you notes and emails from parents who recognized the simple things a teacher did to inspire their child. Families who took the time to acknowledge a teacher’s hard work and say “thank you.”

Teachers are human and they have bad days too – just like parents do. Days when the kids couldn’t focus. The math lesson didn’t go as planned. The fire drill ruined the day’s rhythm. The projector died. The kids needed more. A parent email felt like a stab in the heart. On days like these, teachers can’t hide in the bathroom, close their office door or take a long lunch. They still have to be there for all their kids until the bell rings.

It’s at the end of those days when teachers take a breath, open their special drawer of notes and read them again, one by one. Often with tears in their eyes, they remember how much they love teaching. How much good they are doing. How much kids love them. How much parents need them. How much they are appreciated on those good days.

So take a few minutes before the end of the school year to write a note of thanks – or an email – to your children’s teachers. It doesn’t have to be long. A short note acknowledging a great year, a hurdle reached or a lesson that sparked your child is all it takes. Copy the principal on your email if you want. Even better . . . have your child write a thank you note.

Teachers appreciate notes more than you’ll ever know.


  1. Martha GERMAIN says:

    In 1993 I retired after 28 years of teaching 7-12th graders and still have these precious mementos

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