So…did you make the most of Teacher Appreciation Week?

Students say “thank you” to their parents for buying them food, or they can say “thanks” to friends for compliments received. But can—and do—students say “thank you” to their teachers for going through hours and hours of the same curriculum, routines and days? We are all supposed to be grateful for what we have and that others don’t have, so why is it that Teacher Appreciation Week itself is not recognized and that thanking teachers is underrated?

Every year, Leadership students deliver nice messages and put up posters with their thanks to staff members, giving each teacher a unique and individual message. I’ve seen crazy posters (my favorite: “Mr. Bilyeu, you’re the COOLEST thermodynamics teacher ever”), flower pots, nice cards; I’ve seen them all. There are the occasional cards and gifts from individual students, but that doesn’t happen often.

Teachers’ roles include things like lesson planning, teaching, accountability for student performance, classroom management and discipline, supervisory roles for extracurricular activities. Students may argue that it’s a nuisance to learn nine months worth of material, attend school early every day during that time, heed the teachers and the school rules and maintain good grades in order to graduate. Yes, we do have to do that, but teachers are more than just teachers. Most are parents who have children—their own students—to attend to. Aside from the roles listed above, they have to manage their own children and support their families.

Did students even know that May 7 through May 11 was Teacher Appreciation Week? With Advanced Placement testing, we may have missed the opportunity to do something nice for our teachers. But regardless, teacher appreciation should occur every day and not just once, like  the way Valentine’s Day should be celebrated with that special someone every day.

It’s not too late. The school year isn’t over yet. Ask yourself, “Should I thank my teacher even if it’s a few days late?” The answer is: “yes, you should.” It takes five seconds to say “thank you for today” to your teacher. If you really want to put in the time and effort, and put meaning into it, it is never too late to acknowledge your teachers. Take some time to truly thank your teachers for all that they’ve done to educate you.

This special week is over, but there are still five weeks of school left to lift your teachers’ spirits with a kind act of appreciation.