With schools focused on distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students and parents are finding creative ways to show appreciation for their teachers.

May 4 through 8 is Teacher Appreciation Week; Tuesday, May 5, is National Teacher Appreciation Day.

“Typically if we were in school there would be all kinds of things that we would do,” Heart of the Lakes Elementary Principal Liz Johnson said in an April 29 video call with the Focus. Those activities would include the Hive Group, parent who volunteers would have set up a sunshine cart with local, donated treats or coffee for the teachers.

Because students will not be returning to school buildings this year, the normal teacher appreciation activities will not be happening. However, Johnson is planning a surprise for the teachers when they do come in for their office times.

“I know it’s been difficult for the families from talking with them,” Johnson said. “I know it’s been difficult for students and it’s been difficult for the teachers.”

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Teachers at Heart of the Lakes Elementary School preparing for  DIstrance Learning in March. Shown from left to right: Teri Cresap, Michelle Bormann, Lisa Smith, Kersten Buskirk, Jordan Spaeth, Jesse Hain, and Katelyn Schmitz. (Submitted photo)
Teachers at Heart of the Lakes Elementary School preparing for DIstrance Learning in March. Shown from left to right: Teri Cresap, Michelle Bormann, Lisa Smith, Kersten Buskirk, Jordan Spaeth, Jesse Hain, and Katelyn Schmitz. (Submitted photo)

This year for Teacher Appreciation Day and Week, Perham students and parents shared messages for their teachers with the Focus:

  • Liam Wasche: Mrs. Buskirk is an amazing teacher. I wished I could stay in her class but no, I have to move on to third grade. Anyone would be lucky to have her as a teacher. She is just like her sister, Mrs. Kirchenwitz, kind and nice.
  • Leela Collins: I am in Ms. Pirrotta’s kindergarten class. My teacher is the best ever. I miss her very much.
  • Anilighi Fredrickson: Mr. Grewe is the best fourth-grade teacher ever I've had.
  • Kaycee Carrlson: Mrs. Hart is really understanding if you don’t get something. She takes the time to help me until I understand it. She makes things fun and is really kind.
  • Peter Carrlson: My physical education teacher, Mr. Werner, makes things fun and helps me love phy ed for the first time in school. I also appreciate my teacher, Mr. Johnson. He is a pretty great teacher and is always there to answer my questions. He understands I learn in a unique way and challenges me to keep learning. I also appreciate Heidi Solberg. She is a special education teacher. She has helped me learn and grow as a student and person since kindergarten.
  • Anders Anderson: I'm just saying I can tell you multiple things. Mr. Hein is always happy. He always looks on the bright side. He always forgives you. Plus he makes me think I might join football.

  • Dru Marthaler: Mrs. Bell, I like it when she reads me books. She does fun art projects with us.

  • Chetley Tuman: Mrs. Happel is a good teacher. She teaches good. She makes me feel happy. Learning is good. I like math.

  • Cody Rutten: Mrs. Buskirk, it is fun learning with her. She makes me happy.

  • Brynn Berube: Mrs. Renfrew, I like her a lot. She makes me feel happy

  • Kari Steffen, parent: The teachers during this time and even this year have gone above and beyond normal things we expect from teachers. We had a slight family emergency this year, and the teachers for my son worked to provide us support. Anytime we needed something- whether it was school or family related- they were so understanding and helpful. We appreciated it so much.
  • Beth Carrlson, parent: We really appreciate our teachers after parents have tried to step in and be teachers while we are doing distance learning. My kids also appreciate the principal, Mrs. Johnson. She is kind and helpful to the students, teachers, and parents. She is really smart and is doing a great job.