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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Teacher Thank You Letters: Tips for Parents & Students

Teacher Thank You Letters: Tips for Parents & Students

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As many schools are approaching the end of the year, you or your child might be looking for ways to show your appreciation for a special teacher. Taking a moment to reflect on  experiences from the year can brighten a teacher’s day tremendously.

While a thank you of any kind is a nice gesture, try to avoid being generic. It’s much better to write an authentic, heartfelt letter that reflects your experience. For younger kids, parents can assist with this. Remember, it can be short and sweet! But for those of you feeling creatively stumped or looking for some inspiration, here’s a few ideas to get you to started.

In the letter, have the student:
  • share their favorite activity of the year
  • share a challenge they overcame or a change they underwent
  • share a memorable moment they had
  • share the most valuable thing they learned
  • share something they will take away from the class
Below are a few short examples, please share your own comments and ideas. Good luck!
[Elementary]
Dear Ms. Brown,
Thank you for a great year, I really liked being in your class for 4th grade. My favorite part about this year was going on our field trip to Point Reyes and seeing the tide pools and sea lions. I liked learning more about the ocean, and I even think I might want to be a marine biologist when I grow up so I can help save whales.

My other favorite part of the year was making the Gold Rush display for our classroom, that was a lot of fun. Have a good summer!
-Billy



[Secondary]
Dear Señora Carter,
I wanted to say thank you for being such a fantastic teacher for Spanish 2. I struggled in Spanish 1 last year and was honestly dreading taking another year of it as a sophomore. By the end of the first semester I was actually looking forward to coming to your class. Not only did you help me improve my Spanish skills, but you also made the class fun!

I really enjoyed how you made games (like playing jeopardy to prepare for tests) and gave us some artistic projects instead of just working from the textbook. Thanks again, and I hope you teach Spanish 3 next year so that I can take another class with you!
-Sarah

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Gaetan Pappalardo's picture
Gaetan Pappalardo
Teacher, Author, Guitar––Word.
Facilitator

A personal thank you letter is the best thing you can give a teacher
(not only at the end of the year, too.)
It's fuel. It's motivation. It's way better than a gift card or mug. In my 14 years of teaching, I haven't had many thoughtful thank you cards
(And I'm not upset about it because this is my job)
but the ones I've had I remember so well because they've pushed me to keep going. Just a few words on a piece of paper are so powerful and enlightening. I've framed a few of my letters/cards from parents to remind me that I'm doing the right thing no matter what the numbers say
(and more numbers are coming, my friends)

"Words have weight."

Stephen King

Idea

Receiving a thank you letter at the end of the year is grand, but getting one at the beginning of the year is even better. Once a parent left a phone message for me after school let out for the summer. When I returned in September I finally listened to the message. I tell you what; it was a pleasant surprise and definitely pumped me up for the beginning of the school year.

Happy Letter Writing!!

(1)
Gaetan Pappalardo's picture
Gaetan Pappalardo
Teacher, Author, Guitar––Word.
Facilitator

A personal thank you letter is the best thing you can give a teacher
(not only at the end of the year, too.)
It's fuel. It's motivation. It's way better than a gift card or mug. In my 14 years of teaching, I haven't had many thoughtful thank you cards
(And I'm not upset about it because this is my job)
but the ones I've had I remember so well because they've pushed me to keep going. Just a few words on a piece of paper are so powerful and enlightening. I've framed a few of my letters/cards from parents to remind me that I'm doing the right thing no matter what the numbers say
(and more numbers are coming, my friends)

"Words have weight."

Stephen King

Idea

Receiving a thank you letter at the end of the year is grand, but getting one at the beginning of the year is even better. Once a parent left a phone message for me after school let out for the summer. When I returned in September I finally listened to the message. I tell you what; it was a pleasant surprise and definitely pumped me up for the beginning of the school year.

Happy Letter Writing!!

(1)

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