American Education Week: 4 Substitute Educators Day Resources

During American Education Week, Teacher Peach honors and acknowledges the many professionals who make our schools great environments in which to learn and teach. Today, on Substitute Educators Day, we focus on a very special kind of teacher who is a vital lynchpin in the educational system—the substitute teacher. Substitute teachers perform many feats, not the least of which is often walking into an unfamiliar classroom with little or no notice or prep time, charged with keeping the learning going—smoothly—at many different grade levels and subject areas.

American Education Week Summary 3
Schools depend on the teams of substitute teachers that regularly support their core teaching staffs. From extended substitute teacher assignments for maternity or medical leaves to coverage for a sudden and unexpected teacher absence for the flu, substitute teachers must be highly adaptable. Substitute teachers must be able to engage a diverse range of students quickly and command unfamiliar classrooms effectively. Substitute educators must be facile with technology, too, able to find and project documents, working in many different systems to pick up where the absent teachers had left off.

While teachers and principals clearly recognize the need for “great subs” and a strong substitute educators’ strategy, students are not always so appreciative of the many challenges substitute teachers must tackle. Some students don’t make the substitute educator’s job easier, either; students sometimes view a day with a substitute teacher as a day without consequences that matter, an ideal time to act out. While this behavior may not change for some students, the support that substitute teachers receive from their peers and colleagues can go a long way to help substitute educators effectively cover many different kinds of classes—and connect with students in order to teach and keep the classes on track.

Today, on Substitute Educators Day, we extend our thanks to each and every one of these amazing substitute teachers and educators.

Links at Your Fingertips

  • Substitute Educators Day 2015
    Written by NEA, this overview article provides downloads, videos, and lots of factual information about substitute teachers.
  • Plan Now to Celebrate American Education Week
    This article contains additional information about American Education Week and ways to participate in the celebration.
  • American Education Week History
    The history about American Education Week is not only interesting background, it can help to begin and provide rich content for conversations with students about showing respect for substitute educators.

Share These Freebies to Thank Substitute Teachers
Substitute Teacher Freebie BlueThe many substitute teachers in our schools deserve a thank you—from our communities, families, teachers, and students—not just during American Education Week. Substitute teachers make measurable contributions throughout the school year.

To honor and acknowledge the many contributions performed the substitutes in your schools on Substitute Educators Day, download these colorful PDFs and display them in your classrooms, in hallways, post them on your website, pin them, and share them. The more people who promote this message, the wider the reach will be.

Substitute Teacher Freebie OrangeNot only does this poster send a positive acknowledgement to substitute educators, it helps to signal to all students that substitute educators play an important role in your school. This message also communicates that substitute educators deserve, and receive from you, the same respect as any other teacher.

Substitute Teacher Freebie GreenInvite your peers and faculty to use these posters as the start of an in-school campaign to support substitute educators, starting on Substitute Educators Day.

Teacher Gifts for Substitute Educators
American Education Week is a wonderful time to express thanks to the many substitute educators in your school. Check out these products that make meaningful and functional substitute teacher gifts.

Pocket FoldersThis collection of pocket folders includes a special Substitute Teacher folder and is great for both teachers and substitute educators. A little bit of planning goes a long way. By taking time to fill these folders with pertinent information before a short, unexpected or extended, anticipated absence, you’ll both be better prepared for any substitute assignment.

I Am a Teacher ToteBecause it is important to send the message to everyone that substitute educators are important teachers in their own right, ensure your favorite subs are seen as the capable teachers that they are. Give them a teacher gift of this awesome “I am a teacher” canvas tote to transport their many school materials.

Teacher Travel KitOn any given day, substitute teachers don’t know what supplies might—or might not—be waiting in their assigned classrooms. Help substitute educators to be prepared with this Travel kit. This portable set of supplies helps any sub on the go.

  • How do you support and champion the substitute educators in your school?
  • How did your school and students show appreciation to substitute educators for their work during American Education Week?
  • Can you think of other products that Teacher Peach can create to help substitute educators?

Let us know below.

5 Tips for Finding Meaningful and Appropriate Teacher Gifts

The holiday gift-giving season is the perfect time for teacher appreciation. However, many families struggle to find appropriate teacher gifts for teachers. Some schools designate room representatives to collect money on a voluntary basis for a class teacher gift. Other schools leave teacher appreciation gifts up to individuals. Some families give teacher gifts; others don’t.

To show your teachers that your family appreciates them this holiday season, this article will help you choose terrific teacher gifts. Teacher Peach knows what teachers like, so our five tips for finding meaningful and appropriate teacher gifts will help you choose special and meaningful teacher gifts for the range of teachers on your list.

Four Typical Teacher Gift Categories
Typical teacher appreciation gifts fall into four main types, each with PROs and CONs. Review these common options before delving into the five tips. Looking first at what doesn’t always work will help you select an option that does work for your teachers!

  1. The Generic Gift Card
    With collected money, classroom representatives often purchase generic gift cards from major credit card companies or chain stores.
    PROs: These cards are easy to find, easy to give, and easy for teachers to spend almost anywhere. You don’t need to know anything about the teachers to choose this gift option.
    CONs: A generic gift card is impersonal. Teachers often spend these gift cards immediately—on gifts for other people, not on themselves! Gift cards may offset holiday budget concerns, but they disappear quickly and teachers often end up with only receipts to remind them of your gesture.
  2. The Handmade Gift
    Pinterest boards brim with ideas for handmade holiday teacher gifts. Many involve ready-made office supplies or foods wrapped with clever wording to personalize them. “You’re one smart cookie!” might be the tag for cookies or “You’re a sharp teacher!” might top a set of Sharpie® markers.
    PROs: Making gifts can be fun for some. Cookies are popular handmade gifts. A handmade scarf might also be fun.
    CONs: Handmade gifts are often pricier than they seem. By the time you buy ingredients and supplies and make gifts, dollars and hours can expand—at an already busy time of year. Homemade gifts are often consumable and, as with the generic gift card, are often shared by teachers with family and friends. Some schools have no-food policies, too.
  3. A Teacher-Specific Trinket
    You’ll find what some consider humorous teacher trinkets and gifts. Many poke gentle fun at teaching. A T-shirt for math teachers might read, “I’ve got problems! I teach math!” Other items might include ornaments or mugs with apples, ABCs, or 123s, reading “World’s Best Teacher.” Some can be personalized: “Mr. Harris, World’s Best Teacher.”
    PROs: These gifts focus on the teacher’s profession and may be perceived as more thoughtful than generic gifts. They’re also inexpensive. If you know teachers well enough to know such gifts would entertain, they may be good options.
    CONs: Not every teacher appreciates this type of gift. Most teachers and schools strive to present highly professional and positive images. Some of these gifts might be seen as presenting the profession in a pejorative way. Others may appear too juvenile for teachers to display or carry. As one teacher said, “Just because I love teaching kindergarten doesn’t mean I want to ride the train with a bag covered in handprints and stick figures.” To personalize a gift often takes extra time so plan ahead; adding a teacher’s name makes the gift non-returnable and non-exchangeable.
  4. A Personal Item
    Sweet Sips Water BottlesIf you know what interests the teachers on your list, personal items can be great gestures. Scarves and gloves are great for dismissal and recess. A book about rock climbing shows an avid climber/teacher you respect his/her outside interests. Tote bags, water bottles, and tech gear appeal to many teachers. Some have positive messages about teaching, too. Sweet Sips™ water bottles keep drinks hot for 6 hours and cold for 12; reading: “I THIRST for knowledge.”
    PROs: These gifts signal you know the teachers in your world. Scarves fit most people. If you include a gift receipt, items may usually be returned.
    CONs: When teachers share their interests, many in the class know about it. You could end up giving your horse-loving teacher one of seven horse motif mugs! You’ll also need to know sizes for some personal items.

5 Tips for Finding More Meaningful and Appropriate Teacher Gifts
Now that you’ve reviewed the more typical gifts, consider these 5 tips for finding meaningful and appropriate teacher gifts. Gift givers want to find just the right gifts for the teachers who teach their children.

  1. Wish Lists Help Everyone!
    Both families and teachers love wish lists. Gift givers like buying from wish lists and teachers enjoy receiving gifts they really want. It means a lot to teachers to be asked to choose gifts that really appeal. It’s good to preview and provide links to one or two website wish lists to help teachers feel comfortable their choices are within your budget. Share work-related, not personal, wish list links like this link from teacherpeach.com, a great source for really great teacher gifts and accessories for really great teachers. This site helps you appropriately express your teacher appreciation this holiday season.

    Teacher Peach Wish List

    Check out the Wishlist link at the bottom of our website, teacherpeach.com. Use this private wishlist to select items that appeal to you. Once you have settled on your favorites, share them with friends, your family, and even with those student families that may ask what you’d like for the holiday. Because our wishlist is just for you, consider some of these options as ways to share out your finalists. It’s easy to make a Pinterest board of your favorites by clicking on the little red Pinterest graphic that appears on each product page or send screen shots or product links in an email. However you opt to do it, by making a few selections of your favorite gift ideas from Teacher Peach, you’ll set the stage for everyone to enjoy the holiday season—including you!

  1. Pool Resources for Bigger Gifts
    Get together with other families to pool resources and purchase a more robust teacher’s gift set. Some sets, like the ones shown below, contain products for teachers, students, and classrooms. These gifts send supportive messages, adding value to teachers and students.
    Teacher Peach Gift SetTeacher Gift Set
  1. Say the Word(s)!
    If your budget won’t permit purchased or handmade teacher gifts, use words to send great messages. Help kids make lists of adjectives to describe their teachers’ qualities. Make lists of 12 Compliments, one for each day of the holidays. Have kids write 26 words about teachers—A to Z. The right words can make meaningful teacher gifts.
  1. Be a Gift Detective
    Pop into class to scope out what’s missing on the teacher’s desk. Would a new stapler or “TEACH-CHOO!” tissue box spruce things up? How about an entire desk set?
    Teacher Peach Desk Set
    Do you notice color-coding? Do bulletin boards indicate a creative streak? Would Sharpie® marker sets and cool pocket folders be great additions?
    Teacher's Only Marker SetPocket Folders
    Do you spot a picture of a cat or recall your child sharing stories about his teacher’s big black lab? Gifts for a teacher’s furry friend is a great way to express thanks. The Real Teacher’s Pet™ products are just such a product line.
    Teacher Peach's Pet Products
    Watch teachers leaving school. Would a snazzy “I Teach.” Jumbo Tote complete her professional look? Totes make great teacher appreciation gifts.
    Teacher Peach JUMBO TOTETeacher Peach Jumbo Rainbow Black Tote
  1. Choose Teacher Gift Certificates from a Teacher-Centric Gift Store
    Choosing appropriate teacher gifts can be tough, but not impossible. What if you’ve reviewed teacher wish lists, chatted with other families, attempted thank-you lists, applied your best detective skills, and still can’t decide what teacher gift to choose for teachers who really matter? What if you’re just pressed for time? Choose gift certificates from a teacher-centric store to ensure the really great teachers in your world can make their own really great gift choices! Teacher Peach offers gift certificates in any dollar amounts for just such situations.
    Teacher Gift Certificate

Put a Bow On Teacher Appreciation Gifts
From wish lists to tote bags and other teacher accessories, there are many meaningful ways to show teacher appreciation with great teacher gifts this holiday season. By planning ahead to take advantage of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other holiday deals, you can explore terrific teacher gift options—and save money. No matter what approach you choose, you’re not only expressing teacher appreciation—you’re also showing your kids that teachers give great gifts to your family every day.

Have other ideas for teacher gifts? Share your teacher gift-giving strategies here.

American Education Week: 4 Resources for Teachers and Parents

During American Education Week, all eyes are on the work that teachers do every day. To acknowledge this work, this week’s focus on education calls attention to the many different aspects of our educational system—from teachers, parents, and administrators to substitute teachers, nurses, and other educational support professionals. Much has been written about American Education Week and there are many actions you can take to underscore this week. This article is a collection of four useful resources for teachers and parents—to add value and save time.

To reinforce our support of teachers every day, Teacher Peach will post three articles this week. Each article includes 4 valuable teacher and parent/family tools:

  1. An easy-to-scan summary of facets of American Education Week.
  2. A collection of links with deeper information.
  3. A quote or printable FREEBIE, designed by our team of designers, about education for teachers and families to post and share.
  4. Teacher accessory products that add value to teachers—and make great gifts from appreciative families.

American Education Week Summary 1
The purpose of American Education Week is to celebrate public education and honor the amazing teachers in our schools as well as all of the other incredible contributors who are making a difference in ensuring that every child receives a high-quality education.

This year’s theme is “Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility,” and will be reflected in special observances each day of the weeklong celebration. Click on each link to see a detailed description of each day.

The intent of having a different focus each day is to communicate that this powerful system is indeed just that, a system filled with the contributions of many different people with unique expertise and experience, all at the ready to make the education of our children that much more effective. Teachers, parents, families, and educational support professionals all work together to create a positive learning experience. This week we stop to recognize and acknowledge the many different actions by so many different contributors during American Education Week.

American Education Week began in 1921 with the first observance of American Education Week taking place during December 4–10, 1921. The National Education Association and American Legion were the co-sponsors. A year later, the then U.S. Office of Education joined the effort as a co-sponsor, and the PTA followed in 1938. Today, many different organizations are behind this important show of support.

More Links at Your Fingertips
In addition to the links above, the following articles provide a quick and easy overview of the week’s events so you can participate in American Education Week.

Share This Quote!
To honor and acknowledge the importance of education, we share this special quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was always a strong supporter of American education and the value that education adds to every human being.

Enjoy this quote, print it out as a poster, display it on your whiteboard, and share it with friends. The Teacher Peach creative team designs these quotations to say thank you to teachers, parents, families, and education support professionals. We will share at least three of these quotations during American Education Week! Happy posting!

Teacher Peach Education Dr. Martin Luther King Quote

Teacher Gifts for American Education Week
To thank teachers for their excellent work every day of the year, acknowledge the many facets of a teacher’s job with one of these three tote bags for teachers.

Teacher Peach’s newest release, the “Yes. I Teach.” Rainbow Black Tote shows the many actions teachers take as part of their support of their students—in living color.

Teacher Peach Jumbo Rainbow Black Tote

If the teachers in your life prefer something more classic, check out this “I Teach.” Jumbo Tote. Its message is equally special and in classic B&W with grey, this tote bag holds—and says—it all.

Teacher Peach JUMBO TOTE

Last, and certainly not least, teachers DO make their kids their primary priority. To thank the teachers in your world for doing just this, a “Primary Priority” Tote makes an ideal teacher gift during American Education Week.

Primary Priority Tote

How do you plan to showcase American Education Week? Let us know below.

Student-led Conferences: A Different Approach to Parent–Teacher Conferences

For years, parent–teacher conferences* have operated in a fairly consistent way. Family members come to school. They sit down with the teacher. The teacher leads the meeting. Family members ask questions. A discussion ensues. And the process repeats with the next family.

It’s a process that’s not really broken. Therefore, schools have continued to use it without making many significant changes to the process. However, many schools have Continue reading “Student-led Conferences: A Different Approach to Parent–Teacher Conferences”

Positive Behavior Reinforcement and PBIS Programs

Each school year brings new students, along with new trends to help improve how we go about educating the students. Positive behavior reinforcement—and programs focusing on using positive behavior reinforcement to mold student behaviors—is one such trend that is gaining popularity in schools. Positive behavior reinforcement, simply defined, is giving a reward for a positive action or behavior to encourage the action or behavior to happen again. Positive reinforcement could Continue reading “Positive Behavior Reinforcement and PBIS Programs”

Teacher Peach Freebies: Team Collaboration Commitments

Collaboration Takes Commitment from All Team Members
A new school year means attending plenty of meetings. Meetings are effective when everyone has a clear understanding of the meeting’s goals and when all team members are committed to the collaboration. Whether your school has team meetings every week, every month, or every quarter, you’ll want to set the tone for those meetings early in the school year.

Ensure All Team Members Are Committed to the Cause
Establish meeting ground rules and get buy-in from all team members by using this Team Collaboration Commitments document. It features a list of best practices for team collaboration that can serve as your ground rules for your team meetings.

Read through each point on the document. Discuss what each point means and how the action might look in your particular meetings. Then have all group members cement their commitment to the team by signing the document. Keep the document accessible during your meetings throughout the year and refer back to it to make sure your meetings continue to be effective.

Be Sure Your Group Is Prepared to Participate
Help liven up your team meetings with these Teacher Peach supplies.

Help reinforce the collaborative process with “Write.” Mechanical Pencils and “Revise.” Eraser Sticks. Show your team that you’re willing to write ideas and try new things, but that you’re just as willing to erase and revise ideas when bigger and better ideas are introduced.

Teacher Peach's Write Mechanical Pencils Teacher Peach's Revise Eraser Sticks

After your team meetings, be sure to show your appreciation to your team members by giving them a Partner Thank You Card that has the perfect message thanking them for being your partner. Enhance the message by writing your own message inside the card.

Teacher Peach's Partner Thank You Cards

Need more ideas? Check out teacherpeach.com.