There are many ways to thank a teacher during Teacher Appreciation Week. (Courtesy photo)

School Superintendent Vincent Matthews: How to show a teacher your appreciation

Chances are, you remember at least some of the great teachers you had while you were in school.

Chances are, you remember at least some of the great teachers you had while you were in school. As an SFUSD student who had many great teachers, and as a former teacher myself, I can tell you firsthand the important role that teachers play in the lives of our young scholars.

Mr. Herb Blanchard at McAteer High was just one of the many teachers who challenged me and supported me. He believed in me, had faith in my abilities and pushed me to my limits — he is one of the reasons I am an educator today.

There are thousands of San Francisco teachers and millions of things to appreciate about them. This week, in honor of National Teacher Appreciation Week, I want to share some of the praise community members have shared with us through the district’s RAVE nominations. These professionals represent only a few of the thousands in our City who are helping students learn, grow, experience joy, overcome challenges, and find the path for their future.

At Raoul Wallenberg High School Chemistry teacher Sohum Bhatt comes to school every day ready to embark on a journey of learning with his students. No matter the situation, Mr. Bhatt brings a calmness to his classroom and will listen intently to any student. He takes the time to get to know his students and to encourage them to be curious and take risks. In the afternoons, he makes himself available to tutor students and presents subject matter in a variety of ways that different types of learners can access the information.

Whether the need is academic or emotional, Ms. Ra Price at Lafayette Elementary looks for opportunities to support her students even in the smallest of moments. She is constantly striving to learn and engage new, evidence-based teaching practices by applying them to her lessons.

Ms Allen at Thurgood Marshall Academic High School, goes above and beyond to engage her students in the classroom. She makes sure students learn math in a safe and rigorous learning environment. Ms Allen is a true team player; she also collaborates with colleagues and takes the time to support them.

This week we encourage students and families to let their teachers know what makes them special and why they are appreciated. Even if you’re not an SFUSD student or parent, you can still thank teachers.

Here are a few ways to thank teachers:

Write a note

Whether it’s a handwritten note, an email, or a formal nomination for recognition such as an SFUSD RAVE, taking a few minutes to express your gratitude can make someone’s day.

Contribute funding to an educator-driven project

Teachers have innovative ideas that can transform their students’ learning. In addition to helping to raise funds your child’s school, classroom or district-wide efforts, you can find a multitude of San Francisco educators’ specific wish lists at DonorsChoose.

Create a care package

There are some things most teachers can never have too much of: healthy snacks, dry-erase markers, sharpies, red pens, sticky notes, and chart paper, to name a few. You can also share your appreciation by giving them something they can use when they get a break – like a gift card to a nearby coffee shop or restaurant.

Vincent Matthews is the school superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District. He is a guest columnist.


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