Teacher Appreciation month is over, relax America, teachers can now go back to being the ignored, disrespected, and underpaid public servants that they are. If you are like me, you probably didn’t even notice that May was Teacher Appreciation month at all. For most teachers, the month of May consisted of proctoring tests, covering for other teachers proctoring tests, and killing time in classes only half filled with students because the other students were all testing. Aside from a videotaped message and a robocall from our superintendent (the same superintendent who maneuvered long term cost savings to the district of over $1 billion by stripping his most experienced and dedicated teachers of their financial future by creating a pay structure that will permanently suppress their wages) the month of May probably left you feeling just as unappreciated as every other month. If you are lucky enough to teach at a school with a strong PTA you may have been treated to a free luncheon. Local businesses may have donated items to your school. Jimmy John’s subs was nice to enough to donate quarter-sized subs to teachers at my school, but unfortunately a student decided to express his gratitude towards teachers by running off with the subs before most teachers got to eat any. Oh, well, at least we could still get our one free burrito a year from Chipotle at the risk of getting dysentery and a large hospital bill not covered by district insurance.

In case one month of teacher appreciation just wasn’t good enough for you, the school district of Palm Beach County has decided to launch a year long “Thank a Teacher Campaign” https://www.palmbeachschools.org/districtnews/2017/05/30/district-launches-year-long-thank-a-teacher-campaign-to-honor-educators/. Because one month of condescending gestures of teacher appreciation that acknowledge that you are not paid your worth and never will be just isn’t enough! Would we ever think to launch a “Thank a Firefighter Campaign” instead of paying them their worth? Is it a coincidence that Teacher Appreciation week is the same week as Mother’s Day? I think not. Teachers, like mothers, are supposed to be altruistic saints who do it all for the love of children no matter what the personal sacrifice.

All of this teacher appreciation and the lack thereof, got me brainstorming some Do’s and Don’ts of teacher appreciation. Let’s start with some Don’ts:


  1. For the love of God, no more coffee mugs, tacky t-shirts, tote bags, adult sippy cups, paper weights, migraine inducing lotions or any other generic tokens of appreciation made by twelve year olds in China.
  2. Please don’t make us sit through faculty meetings where you pull names from a hat to reward us with pens or pieces of chocolate.
  3. Please don’t come up with wonky bonus programs based on decades old high school test scores because you don’t want to fund merit programs you instituted.
  4. Please don’t come up with esoteric algorithms that arbitrarily label teachers unsatisfactory educators even though they poured their hearts and souls into teaching a course.
  5. Please don’t rob me of my financial future just because you can’t find a way to finance the performance pay system that you lobbied for.
  6. Although I know parents have good intentions, I actually don’t want you to adopt my classroom. Everything I can buy on adoptaclassroom.org is something the school system should already be providing for me. With the additional restrictions on how teachers in Florida can spend their teacher lead money, I already have enough post-it notes and dry erase markers to last a lifetime.
  7. Another brain fart out of Palm Beach County is rewarding your Teacher of the Year with a luxury vehicle lease for two years. Instead of just giving your Teacher of the Year the keys to a sensible vehicle like a Toyota Camry that they can own, teachers of the year in Palm Beach County are being treated to a BMW lease for two years.  When their two year lease is up, poof, their carriage turns into a pumpkin and it’s back to their 1998 Honda Civic. http://extracredit.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2017/05/15/surprise-pbcs-teacher-of-the-year-gets-a-prize-with-4-wheels-and-3-letters/


  1. Sometimes cold hard cash is the best gift of all! Well, actually, I don’t think you can donate cold hard cash to a teacher but a Target, Publix or Amazon gift card is the next best thing! Remember the limit is $25 but if you are a high school teacher with a student load of 200 that can really add up!
  2. Create a pay schedule that rewards teachers for years of service and provides for an annual cost of living adjustment that keeps up with inflation.
  3. Reward teachers for pursuing excellence in their craft such as pursuing advanced degrees or National Board Certification.
  4. Reward teachers for providing extra services to their students or mentoring other teachers.
  5. Pay us for our time as other professionals would be paid. If we attend professional development over the summer or on the weekend, we should be paid our daily rate.
  6. Listen to us! Invite teachers to the state legislature and listen to their recommendations. Politicians, district officials, and even school administrators can create short surveys for teacher feedback.
  7. Emails, notes and letters of appreciation from students and parents are appreciated. I especially like the letters of appreciation from D students in the back of the room who looked outwardly tortured by my class all year but secretly enjoyed it.

As much as I appreciate words of gratitude, it is not enough to pay the bills. You can express your appreciation for the Kafkateach blog by making a small donation on Paypal. Here is the link  https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=LLM8XWXXUSNS8

I hate to ask for money but I have fallen on hard times as of late. Even donation amounts as little as $1 can make a difference. Thank you for your support!

Feel free to leave a comment in the commenting section below expressing your Do’s and Don’ts for teacher appreciation.