It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week.

This year, more than ever, parents might really be appreciating their child’s teacher. After all, teachers every day handle 20-plus kids in elementary school, 100-plus in middle and high school. And you, because of the stay at home orders, you’re struggling to help educate the ones who live with you.

This year, teachers had to pivot from in-person classes to classes by Zoom, Facebook Live story times, online assignments, etc., and they are dealing with kids who mentally went on spring break on March 13, and might not have fully returned.

Doesn’t it feel like we’re on an extended spring break?

Typically we recommend giving teachers things that they really need such as Kleenex and gift cards to office supply stores during this week of appreciation. After all, we know that when supplies run out at school, teachers often pick up the tab.

This year, what teachers really need is your encouragement. My friends who are teachers often feel like they are doing everything in some void. They schedule a Zoom call and sometimes only a handful of kids show up. They post assignments, and they don’t get them back. Is anyone even listening to them?

They need a boost, emotionally. Think about doing some of these things this Teacher Appreciation Week:

1. Send an email about how much you, the parent, appreciate all the work they are putting in behind the scenes. Imagine what it would be like to get an email that wasn’t asking them to do something or complaining about an assignment or grade.

2. Have your kid send an email or make a card that you can scan in and email.

3. Send a picture of that field trip or class event from earlier this year and tell them how much you miss them.

4. Send a video message by email from your child about how much you appreciate and miss them. You could even create a song of their virtues.

5. Turn in all the assignments you are missing. (Seriously).

6. Show up on their Zoom calls or other ways they are asking you to participate.

7. Send an online gift card. We all need toilet paper, groceries and maybe even something fun during this time.

The National Education Association is celebrating this week by inviting families to post their thank-yous to social media platforms with #ThankATeacher.