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United Way Blog

Volunteer to Thank Teachers

Whether your teachers sparked an interest in something that turned into your career, inspired a lifelong love of reading, or encouraged you when you faltered, teachers deserve our appreciation every day. Here are a few ideas for saying thank you to teachers that you and other volunteers could consider doing during National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 5-9, 2014.

Pledge to become a volunteer reader, tutor or mentor. Teachers can’t always spend extra time with kids who fall behind, but volunteers can. Research proves that caring volunteers working with students of all ages have the power to help kids boost academic achievement and put young people on track for a bright future. Here are some recommended books for reading with young children and tips for volunteering.

Collect school supplies. Some families can’t afford to buy all the supplies that children need to learn, and teachers often pay for them out of their own pockets. Hold a school supply drive at your office, or partner with a local retailer so shoppers can donate supplies on their way out of the store. Be sure to check with teachers first to determine what supplies they need the most.

Organize a book drive or book swap. When children have access to books at home, they can practice their reading and be ready for more in the classroom. With a book swap, encourage participants to bring a book to trade, but have extra books on-site for those children who attend but are unable to donate a book from their own collection.

Assemble summer reading backpacks. Low-income students lose the equivalent of two months of reading instruction during the summer compared to their middle- and upper-income peers. Say “thanks” to teachers and help prevent summer reading loss by sending kids home with reading backpacks at the end of the school year. Backpacks could contain age-appropriate books, book marks and other materials encouraging kids to read during the summer months.

Share a story. Teachers rock, and United Way is collecting stories about teachers who have made a difference. Share your story about a favorite teacher here.

And while I am at it, I’d like to give a quick shout out to my daughter’s 5th grade teacher, Mr. Skeele.  Thanks for challenging, encouraging and supporting all your students at Davidsonville Elementary School!

Here’s to teachers everywhere.  Thanks for all you do!