Teaching—talk about an underappreciated profession! Without teachers, we wouldn’t have doctors, lawyers, CEOs, engineers, authors . . . the list goes on. Teachers go through additional schooling, work nights and weekends, and somehow have a knack for holding on to their sanity while dealing with other people’s kids. (Seriously, how do they do it?)
Behind every successful person is a good teacher (or five). And yet, educators barely get any props for making the world go round! It’s about time we change that. A few words of appreciation are all it takes to make a teacher smile and say, “It’s all worth it!” And honestly, it’s the least we can do.
Here are some of the best compliments you can give to the teachers in your life.
Best Things to Say to Your Child’s Teacher
Whether it’s the teacher who took some extra time to explain algebra or someone your child simply can’t stop talking about, brighten their day the next time you see them by saying something like this:
1. Thank you. It’s a simple but meaningful phrase that people in this profession just don’t hear often enough.
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2. We appreciate you. Teachers don’t just teach—they prepare us for the road ahead. Saying you appreciate that effort reminds teachers that their impact goes beyond the classroom.
3. Your sacrifices don’t go unnoticed. Teachers give up their personal and family time to grade papers, prepare lessons, and attend conferences. And many people don’t realize teachers have to buy most of their classroom supplies out of pocket. Tell them their extra work means a lot to you. The compliment will certainly mean a lot to them.
4. You made this easy to understand. A teacher’s main goal is to teach. If they simplified something that used to be difficult for your kid to understand, let them know they’re good at their job. Better yet, have your kid tell them directly! Hearing the newly discovered confidence in your child’s voice will make the teacher so proud.
5. My child wants to learn more about this. These words are music to a teacher’s ears! Teachers love to learn and get excited when students share that enthusiasm. This is another compliment that will probably mean even more if it comes straight from your kiddo.
6. You truly care about your students. Good teachers want to see their students succeed and are honored to be a mentor. Tell them you can feel their support and that it doesn’t go unappreciated.
7. You’re making a huge impact. Let your teacher know how much value they add to your family’s life. If it’s someone your child can’t stop talking about, tell them how much your child loves being in their class! Teachers spend so much time with their students, and many of them love to feel like they’re part of the family.
Best Things to Say to Your Former Teachers
Admit it. Back in the day, you probably rolled your eyes at that one teacher who “nagged” you to do better. But now you understand the bigger lessons they were trying to teach you. Look up one of your old instructors and tell them how they made an impact on your life. Here are some things you can say:
1. I wouldn’t be where I am without you. Running your own business. Thriving in a career you love. Getting out of debt. Starting a charity. What teacher wouldn’t get a kick out of knowing they motivated you to achieve those things?
2. I never forgot this one thing you said to me. Educators love to hear how a phrase they uttered—like “double-check your work” or “learn from your mistakes instead of dwelling on them”—stuck in your mind. They’ll also be happy the words didn’t go in one ear and out the other.
3. You saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. Award-winning actress Hilary Swank told the Academy of Achievement that she found her calling when her fifth-grade teacher, Mr. Sellereit, had her write and perform a skit for her class.1 Imagine how good Mr. Sellereit felt when he heard that! Hilary said she was so grateful for his influence that she’s even gone back to visit his classroom and speak to his students.2 Talk about a compliment!
4. I’m still using a skill you taught me. Maybe it’s the memory tricks that helped you recall the answers to your final exams or the time-management tips that helped you balance homework with your after-school job. It’s awesome for your teacher to hear how those skills are still helping you today with your job and your family.
Additional Things to Say to Teachers You Know
Maybe your sibling, your neighbor or one of your friends is a teacher. You may not see them in action, but you can still acknowledge the hard work they put into their day job by saying something like:
1. You deserve a break. Remind a teacher to keep their batteries charged! Many of us forget that teachers work overtime, because they tend to keep quiet about it. Encourage them to treat themselves, whether it be a spa day or a round of golf.
2. I admire what you do. Too many people think that teaching is an easy profession—because teachers make it look easy! Simply tell a teacher that you recognize how hard their job is. That’s likely enough to make them smile.
3. How can I help? Teachers can get overwhelmed by their workload. If you’re feeling generous, ask how you can help. It could be something as simple as donating books to their classroom library or volunteering to read or speak to their students. Big or small, there’s something you can do to help a teacher in your life!
If you’re a teacher, we want to say thank you for all you do. Here at Ramsey Education, we are cheering you on! If you’d like to learn more about what we do here and how you can change your students’ lives next school year by teaching personal finance, check out our Foundations in Personal Finance curriculum.