The first week of May is known as Teacher Appreciation Week, and the National Education Association recognizes May 3, 2011, as National Teacher Day. Here in Idaho, we’re calling it Thank a Teacher Week.

As Idaho Education Association President Sherri Wood notes in a new video, many Idaho educators are feeling unappreciated this year. Between a wave of anti-public education legislation and a quarter-billion dollars in school budget cuts over the past three years, these have been the toughest times that most Idaho teachers have ever faced.

That’s why it’s especially important to show Idaho teachers that their tireless hard work on behalf of Idaho’s children is appreciated. “Your work is wonderful, we know what you do each and every day, and you are very much appreciated,” Wood said.

Parents, grandparents, and community members can show their thanks to their children’s educators in a variety of ways:

Simple handwritten notes are always good. In Idaho, there will be several opportunities to write short notes of appreciation to teachers. Watch this page for a listing of events during the week of May 3-9.

NEA Member Benefits has a beautiful virtual website wall where people can post their thanks and see what others have written and drawn. Copies of the greetings will be emailed to the teachers of your choice.

Gift cards are always appreciated, either to a favorite restaurant or a store where people can buy what they need most, whether it’s classroom supplies or a basket of groceries.

This year, Idahoans also have the opportunity to sign three petitions that will put the harmful education laws to a vote of the people next year. Thank your child’s teachers by signing the petitions or volunteering at an event near you, or by downloading the petitions and passing them around to registered Idaho voters among your family and friends.

Here’s more information on the NEA’s National Teacher Day and the PTA’s Teacher Appreciation Week.

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