6 Fun Ways to Use Pictures to Say Thank You to Teachers

The articles on how to write thank you cards to teachers , saying thank you in different languages , and 10 great ways to appreciate teachers beat out my Miley Cyrus article series (finally!) so I figured parents are really looking for more information on this topic. I’m so glad. Showing gratitude to teachers and thanking them for their hard work is so important. And, as you all know, gratitude is one of recent Powerful Words, and one that is typically a favorite among teachers and families.

Everyone loves pictures these days. They’re so easy to take, so inexpensive, and yet, so precious. Using pictures are a great way to thank teachers for all that they do.

Here are some ideas that you can do as a group:

  1. Pictures, admiration, and the spa: Take a picture that you have of the teacher and get ready to do a little photo shopping. Fold 2 pieces of card stock together so that it makes a “book.” Put the full picture on the front cover and write “why I love my teacher” on the front. Crop out her face/head and paste it on the first page. Say something like; “I love that you’re always smiling and make me feel special.” On the next page, cut out her hands and say something like; “I love that your hands help shape the future.” On the next page, crop out her feet and write something like; “I love that you choose to stand in front of the class and teach us everyday.” And on the last page say something like; “For your happy face, your important hands, and your tired feet, please have fun getting a facial, manicure and pedicure! (Insert gift certificate.
  2. Photos, the class, and a Scrapbook: This takes some planning but certainly is worth it. Write a letter and send it out to each class mate that says; “we would like to make a special scrapbook for the teacher.” Please write something special and either give it to _______, send it to _________, or email it to _________. You can provide some questions like “what do you like so much about the teacher?” “What is your favorite memory about the teacher?” Take all of the letters and put them in the book. When I’ve done something like this before (the best present ever!), I had everyone email the letters to me and then I was able to print them out on nice, fun scrapbook paper with beautiful fonts, and place them in the book. I added pictures of everyone and a beautiful picture of the honoree on the front.
  3. Spell it out: We talked about this one the other day. According to Scholastic, have your students work in teams of two or three to make letters with their bodies that spell “THANK YOU SO MUCH.” If you have fewer students, you can just make the words “THANK YOU” instead. To put the card together, I took pictures of the students forming each letter with a digital camera. I then inserted the pictures into a blank poster in Print Shop and used the freehand crop tool to cut around their bodies. (This makes them look more like the letters they are trying to form.) Once I have all of the letters cropped, I arrange them on the Print Shop poster and print copies for each parent volunteer. I paste the printed copies on a construction paper card and have the students sign their names inside the card.”
  4. Blow it up: Take a picture of the teacher and blow it up. Mount it on a big piece of card stock. Have each child write a message around the picture that talks about what they appreciate most about their teacher. It could be as simple as, “she reads good books to us,” or it could be a more detailed message.
  5. A Photo, a t-shirt, and class posterity: This idea comes from Family Fun. On the front of the t-shirt, put your child’s class picture and the school year, and on the back, write all of the student names. On the last day, have the students put their handprint above their names with the colored dye for clothes. Variation: Purchase a dark t-shirt and get the children to put their handprint on it in neon paint. (Parents can do this project on a day that we knew the teacher would not be there—after the handprints dry, add the children’s names).
  6. Moving pictures: Put together a video collage of pictures from the school year with a beautiful song in the background or even a song that the children can sing. Variation: Have each child say what they like best about the teacher, why that teacher is a favorite, what they’ll always remember, and “thank-you!” Put the video together showcases all the best answers to the questions, making sure each child is represented. At the end, flash one child after other saying “thank you.” Again, you can use music or the children singing thank you or good-bye songs in the background.

Send in your ideas about how you are thanking teachers, coaches, and instructors this year!

Teachers, Coaches, Instructors…we appreciate you! Have a Powerful Day!

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How to Write a Thank-you Note to Teachers: 9 Things to Remember

When the truth feels so good: Writing a Thank-you Note to the Teacher

December 2009 update:

Would you please vote for me for best Parenting Blog?  It only takes a moment! Thank you!!!

It’s the end of the school year. Many of you are saying, “thank goodness.” But let’s not forget to say “thank-you” to the teachers.

We’ve talked about gratitude and 10 great ways to say thank-you to teachers in the past, but I bring it up again since we are in the home stretch– Spring Fever is just about to turn into Summer Fervor in many parts of the world. Our minds might be on getting out but there is something we must do first.

Teachers, coaches, instructors, tutors and mentors have worked hard this year. You might not have always loved them, you may not have always agreed with them, but all of us can come up with a list of ways that they’ve been helpful. Think for a moment about the times when they went out of their way for you or your children. Think of all lessons they’ve taught your children. How did they show their understanding? How did they share their knowledge? How did they make something a little easier for you—and yet made your children challenge themselves in ways that they couldn’t have done themselves?

What to write in a thank-you note to the teacher:

Be specific: When writing a thank-you letter to the teacher, don’t fall back on overused phrases and colloquialisms. It’s important to customize the thank-you letter, so that it can only be for that one person—that teacher—impossible to interchange with another. What is it about that teacher that you appreciate?

Refrain from saying things like “Thank you for teaching class to my child. He learned a lot.”

Instead, write something like “I want to express my sincerest gratitude for your hard work this year. You should be congratulated for the innovative lesson plans you created. Johnny particularly liked your science experiment with the potato and the match. He still talks about it today.”

Use Stationary or Cards that Allows you to Express Yourself: Pre-written thank-you cards with fancy writing and a make-shift poem doesn’t really say a lot about you or the teacher.

  • Choose a blank card where you can write your own thoughts.
  • Buy or make some stationary with your child.
  • Fold a piece of card stock in half and have your child draw a picture on the front especially for the teacher.
  • When a group is involved, you can get creative! Take some pictures and use that to decorate your note of thanks. For example, check out this cute idea

Use a Nice, Respectful Greeting: Don’t just write the message. Start with a formal greeting. People often forget to this in our “rush, rush” world. Or worse yet—they use something like “Hi” of “Hey.” As my mother used to say to me, “Hey is for horses, Robyn, start with a nice greeting.” And remember, people’s favorite word in the world? Their name. Something like :Dear Coach Suzie” will work fine.

Use your own handwriting: While you might not think it looks as nice as a type-written note, handwritten notes always beat out any font. It’s personal! Put pen to paper and take your time. The teacher will certainly appreciate it.

Be gracious: For those of you who have loved this year’s teacher or coach, the toughest part might be finding just a few lines to sum it up. For those of you who had a frustrating year with a teacher, the toughest part might be finding something nice to say. You may have had a tough time with this teacher and you may not have appreciated all of his or her choices, but there must be something you can be thankful for this year.

Again, refrain from, “I’m writing to say thank-you. You were helpful and fun. We appreciate it.”

Instead say, “We are so thrilled that you were Laura’s teacher this year. Thank-you for taking the time to help her with her math homework—she had been struggling until you taught her those little “tricks.” It really made a difference as you know!”

Talk about how the lessons will influence your child: The lessons your child learns don’t lose their impact when your child walks out the door. They stick with your child. The best teacher or coach will have taught lessons that last indefinitely. I still remember the teachers that taught me to believe in myself and cite them often in my presentations and trainings. Be sure to recognize these important feats.

Refrain from saying; “We’ll remember you fondly.”

And instead, say something like;

Peter will always remember when you said; “You have terrific, creative ideas—write them down because they’ll help a lot of people one day.” He now has a journal filled with ideas for inventions and experiments he wants to do. Because of you, he has taken such an interest in learning that will stick with him always.

Talk about the past and the future: The teacher has been helping your child for quite some time! Especially when dealing with a retiring teacher or a coach/instructor who has been part of your child’s life for a long time, it’s important to talk about the beginning. What did you think when you first met this person? What did your child think?

Refrain from saying; “Chris was glad he got you as his coach. He hopes to see you next year.”

Instead say: Chris liked you from the moment he met you. He said to me; “Mr. Don is so cool!” You certainly did not disappoint! He told me yesterday, “I want to make sure we see Mr. Don this summer and join his class when he starts in September again!” We’ll certainly be there when you start up classes again in the Fall—and we’ll be there this Summer for the school bash!

Even if your child is continuing classes throughout the summer, like many Powerful Words Member programs such as martial arts, gymnastics, swim, or dance, it’s important to take time to thank them for the work they’ve already done this year—just tell them that you’ll see them tomorrow or next week in class instead of next year!

Thank them again: After all, this is the point of the note!

Sign it: Believe it or not, people forget. Be sure to let them know who you are! Be gracious and sign it kindly.

Refrain from signing it:

–Joe Murphey

And instead sign it with one of these and your name:

  • Sincerely
  • With Kind regards
  • Warmest regards
  • Yours truly
  • Best regards
  • Our deepest thanks
  • Love (in certain cases)

And this should go without saying—I certainly hope it does—don’t email it! Send the letter through the snail mail or give it directly to the person. It’s personal and many teachers, coaches, and educators want to keep these things in files, up on their desk, or in a special place where they can look at it.

Here’s to gratitude—we love our educators!