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The 14 Most Powerful Compliments to Give a Teacher

Teachers. Talk about some truly special people! Without them, we wouldn’t have doctors, lawyers, CEOs, engineers, authors . . . the list goes on. Teachers go through extra school, 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). I know that’s true for me—I wouldn’t be who I am today without the teachers who poured into me when I was growing up.

And yet, educators so often go underappreciated—barely getting any props for making the world go round! Well, I think it’s time we change that. After all, a few words of appreciation are all it takes to make a teacher smile and say, “It’s all worth it!” And honestly, you guys, 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 don’t hear often enough.

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 often buy classroom supplies with their own money. 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 child to understand, let them know they’re good at their job. Better yet, have your child tell them directly! Hearing that new sense of 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 your child can’t stop talking about how much they love one of their teachers, tell them! 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 teachers 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. Maybe you’re running your own business, thriving in a career you love, getting out of debt, or starting a charity. What teacher wouldn’t get a kick out of knowing they motivated you to achieve those things?


Are you a teacher? Help your students win with money today!

2. I never forgot this one thing you said to me. Educators love to hear how a phrase they used—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. Teachers spend so much time with us when we’re growing up that they sometimes know us better than we know ourselves. Occasionally, they’ll even notice a gift or talent we don’t even realize we have—and they’ll encourage us to put it to use. If one of your teachers did that for you, let them know and thank them!

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 teaching is an easy profession—because teachers make it look easy! Go ahead and tell a teacher that you recognize how hard their job is. That’s probably 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!

Go Put These Compliments into Action!

All of the compliments on this list are a great way to brighten a teacher's day. But here's the deal, you guys: They only work if you actually go out and give them! So what are you waiting for? Go spread some encouragement and thankfulness to the teachers in your life. They deserve it.


Next Steps

1. Go give a teacher one (or more) of these compliments!

2. If you want to go beyond a compliment and show some extra love to a teacher (and their students!), consider becoming a sponsor and gifting our Foundations in Personal Finance curriculum to a high school in your area.

3. Interested in teaching your child important money skills like how to budget, go to college debt-free and save for retirement? The homeschool edition of Foundations in Personal Finance is the best way to do just that—no boring formulas or financial theories required.

Buy it Now

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Rachel Cruze

About the author

Rachel Cruze

Rachel Cruze is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, financial expert, host of The Rachel Cruze Show, and co-host of Smart Money Happy Hour. Rachel writes and speaks on personal finance, budgeting, investing and money trends. As a co-host of The Ramsey Show, America’s second-largest talk radio show, Rachel reaches millions of weekly listeners with her personal finance advice. She’s appeared on Good Morning America and Fox News and been featured in TIME, REAL SIMPLE and Women’s Health, among others. Through her shows, books, syndicated columns and speaking events, Rachel shares fun, practical ways to take control of your money and create a life you love. Learn More.

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