Teacher Appreciation Week Celebrates Faculty and Staff


Graphic: Quinn Patwardhan ’24.

The Sidwell community recently celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week, a time for students to show their gratitude for faculty and staff.

Since 1953, teachers all over the country have been celebrated in the first full week of May. To continue this tradition at Sidwell, a team of parents organized activities for each day of the week.

Festivities began on May 8 with brunch in the morning followed by a snack pickup on the following day. Families volunteered to bring coffee and a variety of snacks for teachers outside the garage. According to Upper School Math Teacher Dominic Lee, “They did an amazing job with the food spread.”

On Wednesday, students visited classrooms and passed out smoothies to teachers during their free periods and break. Volunteers provided a wide range of flavors, including strawberry-banana and tropical pineapple, providing teachers with some cheer and nourishment in return for their hard work throughout the year. On Thursday, volunteers organized a “Soothing Sensations” activity which offered staff spa products, such as soaps and lotions.

To conclude the week, students filled appreciation trees with notes for their teachers. Freshman Coco Campell said that she loved writing the gratitude notes “as a way to give back for all of the valuable lessons they have taught [her].” Junior Paige Brown wrote a note for English Teacher Monica Schroeder that read,“Thank you so much for being such an amazing person, both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Teachers enjoyed reading the messages, and Upper School Science Teacher Cecelia Laguarda mentioned that “the best teacher appreciation week gift [she] ever received [was] a thoughtful note from a student.”

Parent volunteers were integral to the week’s success. When asked why they wanted to contribute, Emmeline Ochiai, a freshman parent, explained, “[The week] is an opportunity to extend our gratitude to all faculty including teachers, advisors, administrative staff and coaches who nourish the minds and feed the souls of our students and community members.”

“I was delighted to support student efforts to add their notes of gratitude onto the gratitude trees,” added Ochiai.

Many teachers have suggestions for next year’s Teacher Appreciation Week. “A colleague said the following: I would love half of the food spread, twice a year. I know that would mean more time and effort from the parents involved, but I agree with that sentiment,” commented Lee.

Students of the Sidwell community have expressed their belief that teachers deserve more than a week of appreciation. Brown suggested that with the help of parent volunteers, the community can create other opportunities to give back to teachers with gifts of food, or other tokens of thanks. Brown also hopes that students will become more conscious of showing gratitude for their teachers year-round.

Teachers would especially appreciate it if students “take an active role in planning and appreciating teachers in the future,” according to Laguarda.

Freshman Isaac Jain discussed his appreciation for his teachers: “I even like subjects that I didn’t like in middle school because teachers make the classes interesting.”

In addition, an anonymous student said that they “wrote cards for [their] two favorite teachers and made sure to specify why [they] look forward to their class and how they’ve helped [them] grow throughout the year.” Additional student involvement can make next year’s teacher appreciation week even more special.

Teacher Appreciation Week allowed the Sidwell community to come together, demonstrating the Quaker value of gratitude, as students had the opportunity to repay their teachers for their work.