5 Ways to Show Teachers Your Appreciation

We love our teachers and staff that pour into classrooms each day. Teaching children and leading them to the future is not always an easy feat. We like to show our appreciation to teachers by being supportive and encouraging while meeting their needs in and out of the classroom. Keep reading for ways that you can show appreciation to your child’s teachers.

Writing Letters of Gratitude

One way to get your child involved in showing their appreciation is by having them write letters to their teachers. They can get their classmates involved by asking them to write letters of their own. This shows teachers that their students care about them and want to take the time to express their gratitude. The students will also be able to express how grateful they are and have an opportunity to learn about how to build better relationships.

A Video Card

This gift would be a great keepsake for teachers to keep for years to come, allowing them to look back at all their students. Start by gathering videos of students leaving a short message to their teachers. Compe these videos onto a flash drive to create a cute small gift to show the care students have for their teacher. Consider decorating the flash drive or picking out a distinctive-looking one so they can tell it apart from others they have. If you want to make a teacher’s day even brighter, add an extra flash drive or two along with the video drive present.

Getting the Community Involved

A teacher’s impact goes beyond the walls of a school; what kids learn from teachers can last a lifetime and affect whole communities. A practical gift would be gift cards and vouchers to local restaurants and small businesses. Going around the town and asking local businesses to help support teachers in this way is a great way to show how much they really impact the world around them. It will also allow teachers to step out into the community and have fun.

Hosting a Surprise Dessert Day

Everyone loves a treat after a job well done; teachers are no different! With the permission of administrators, you can help host a dessert day for your child’s teachers. Bringing in a dessert that teachers love, like coffee cake and ice cream, would be a great way to help break up their day and boost their energy!

School Supplies

Teachers are always using up their school supplies and could always use more. Start by asking if they need specific supplies, which will allow them to feel appreciated and listened to. Find a group of fellow parents who are interested in helping out, and give each parent a list of supplies to contribute. This not only shows appreciation but also helps in fueling your child’s education!


Teachers do so much for our students, and it’s important to let them know they’re appreciated. That’s why our Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando encourages children to show their teachers appreciation, just as they are taught to in the Bible. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Teacher Spotlight: Mary Anne Patchett

Since 1990, Mary Anne Patchett has been a proud member of the St. Charles Borromeo family. Learn more about Ms. Patchett, her love for teaching, and her passion to transform students into compassionate, responsible leaders of the future.

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Daytona Beach and grew up in Longwood, FL.

What subjects do you teach?
I teach 6th-grade World History, 7th-grade Civics and Government, and 8th-grade U.S. History.

What do you like to do for fun?
In college, I worked in a film lab, so photography is definitely a hobby of mine! Besides that, I love the beach and I love to travel, and it’s wonderful to travel to places that you teach about. A few years ago I went to Greece and to be able to share my experiences with the students is incredibly valuable.

Where have you traveled?
I’ve been to England, Ireland, Italy, and Greece. It’s hard to pick a favorite! They’re all so unique. Egypt is on my list next.

When did you know that you wanted to become a teacher?
Teaching wasn’t a plan until I was maybe in high school or college; it was a slow process! But I found out that it was something that I was good at and really enjoyed. I actually started off teaching elementary school. I’ve only been in middle school for 5 or 6 years, but I taught 5th grade for close to 20 years before this.

What’s your favorite thing about teaching social studies?
I think what’s interesting — especially when we talk about the government — is that it’s constantly changing. When we talk about elections and current events, it’s important that we prepare [students] for the world they’re going to be living in and responsible for. We teach them that they’re going to be important leaders and forces of change.

How do you engage your students in the learning process?
I engage the students by showing them respect and expecting it in return. It’s important that they know that you love them and that you care about who they are as individuals. I try to build relationships with them, and I teach with a loving firmness and mutual respect.

Sometimes they’ll surprise you! And sometimes you have to remind them that they know more than they think, and they shouldn’t underestimate themselves. Their opinions mean something, and they should keep striving for their best.

What do you hope your students take away from being in your classroom?
I hope they’re able to think on their own and problem solve. They’re going to be working in jobs and careers that don’t exist yet, and I want them to know that what I did for them was out of love and respect. Teachers want to see success; teachers want to see our students do well, and that’s my goal.

As a College Park private school, our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Teacher Spotlight: Margaret Borello

Kindergarten teacher Margaret Borello loves being a part of the family at St. Charles Borromeo! Get to know her and how she brings her passion and experience to our institution.

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Pittsburgh, PA. At the age of 10, my family relocated to Fort Lauderdale. I remained in South Florida until three years ago when we moved to Lake Mary.

From what school did you graduate? What was your major?
I received my Bachelors of Arts Degree from Stetson University. I was a music major at first but then changed to Elementary Education. Years later, I received my Master’s degree from Barry University in Educational Leadership!

What do you like to do for fun?
I am a lucky mother of three wonderful daughters and a blessed grandmother of three incredible grandsons! My youngest daughter [just gave] me my first granddaughter, and my eldest blessed me with another grandson for Thanksgiving. My favorite thing to do is to be with these babies.

Do you have a favorite book?
My favorite book to read when I was young was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I enjoy the Harry Potter series and one of my favorite books is The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom.

What did you want to be when you were little?
I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. For a brief time, I had dreams of being a pop singer, but I always knew I would teach in some way! I’ve been teaching for 30 years, and I’ve taught everything from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade (excluding fourth). I’ve had the pleasure of training and working with teachers through Nova Southeastern University as an Early Childhood Training Facilitator, and I’ve also substituted for high school.

Who was your favorite teacher growing up?
I think my favorite teacher was Mr. Hudson in the fifth grade. He made math so much fun that the “light bulb” finally went off and I got it! However, my inspiration was my music teacher in middle school, Mr. Mel Arnold. He was an incredible musician and loved sharing his gift with his students. In his spare time, he taught music therapy to special needs students. He gave me my first flute — it was his when he began playing.

What’s your favorite thing about teaching kindergarten?
I love to teach kindergarten because of the excitement the children bring to school. They can’t wait to learn, and you can literally see when they understand something for the first time. I try to engage my students with activity, music, and movement. I want my students to not only learn the curriculum but most importantly gain a love for learning. If they love it, there is no stopping them!

What is the most rewarding thing about your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the joy in my students’ faces when they’ve mastered a concept for the first time, or written their first story, or even when they have met a new friend.

What do you hope your students take away from being in your classroom?
I hope my students leave my classroom with a love of learning, a yearning for more, and a kinder heart!

As a College Park private school, our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Teacher Spotlight: Karri Gomez

Even when she was young and living in the tiny town of Ponca City, Oklahoma — a town so small that there wasn’t even a McDonald’s until she turned 13 — Karri Gomez knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life.

“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. My family was either in teaching, farming, or insurance — there was no in between. My parents, aunts, and uncles were teachers. I’ve always had a natural knack for communication and reaching kids,” said Gomez. “I learned [from my family] at a very early age that teaching was more than giving instruction in a classroom setting: it’s about building confidence and life skills.”

Over the years, Gomez watched her family make a difference in their students’ lives and became inspired to do the same in her future classroom. She believes that every experience you have molds you. She moved around frequently as a child, and those experiences strongly affect her approach to teaching. She’s conscious of how every child feels in her classroom and remembers what she would have wanted as a new student.

“We moved around a lot, and when we moved, I got to experience being the new kid — sometimes good, sometimes bad,” said Gomez. “I had teachers that were empathetic and teachers that weren’t. It really taught me what it’s like for a child to experience being new, and I would never want someone to experience the negative things that I did; I really want them to experience the positive things. I want to create an enriching and engaging classroom where students enjoy the learning process.”

In Gomez’s classroom, she makes the curriculum come alive, whether it’s through solving exciting “classroom crimes” with interactive clues or by sharing funny, relatable stories. You’ll never find her at her desk; she’s constantly involved with her students, joyful as she watches them discover new information.

“I’ll teach any grade level, I love them all! But third grade is so much fun. What’s so amazing about this age group is this is when they start to develop their own voice and personality. They take what they’ve learned and really start to apply it,” said Gomez. “They become more independent and mature learners; they become more advanced readers, writers, mathematicians, and thinkers. We go deeper into topics and the students can relate the content to their personal life and experience. This shows up in their writing and everything becomes more personal. It’s so much fun watching them grow throughout the year!”

Not only does Gomez help students grow academically, but spiritually. At the top of every assignment, each student’s paper is headed with Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” She loves sharing the Word of God with them and loves watching their eyes light up in the faith-filled moments

“As a teacher, I always say a prayer about the class I’m going to get,” said Gomez. “It’s not so much, “How am I going to get through all this material?” It’s, “Open my eyes to what they need. How can I help them? Who needs help academically? Who needs to challenged? Who is lacking in self-confidence?”

Throughout the year, Gomez gets to know each student as an individual and encourages them to push through challenges. It’s important that each child understands how capable they are and that they can always lean on the Lord, because He will always be there for them.

“I never look at what I do as a job; I love working with my students. I love that I get to learn with them. Building a strong rapport with students is the key to a successful learning experience,” said Gomez. “Students have to know they can come to you. You have to be there for [students] and get to know them. They have to know I’m going to help them, be there for them, and cheer them on.”

As an Orlando private school, our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Teacher Spotlight: Lillie Gelfand

Lillie Gelfand’s whole life was in Florida. But when her husband was transferred up north, she moved to Connecticut. He thrived in the icy winters and she loved watching him thrive, even though she preferred the warm.

“It was heaven for him, freezing for me!” said Gelfand. “He was also a trumpet player — an amazing trumpet player, a performance trumpet player. He graduated from Julliard. My husband was only 45 years old; he was so young, he passed away unexpectedly. It was a shock. I came back [to Florida] alone and started over by myself, trying to grasp what was happening in my life.”

Upon returning to Florida, Gelfand first went to Palm Beach County, where there was the comfort of friendly faces and familiar places. But it was challenging to return to a place where she’d spent so much time with her husband, and she was ready to start over. However, she still loved Palm Beach County and her memories of growing up surrounded by music. She discovered her passion at age 10 when she learned to play the trumpet. This led her to join the band at Fort Lauderdale High School later on, and during her senior year, her band director had two different guests come to class.

The first was a composer from a university in Tennessee. They were playing his music, and one of his pieces had two difficult trumpet solos — and Gelfand got to play both. “He was the first person who ever said to me, ‘You should go to college and major in music.’ It had never entered my mind to do that, ever,” said Gelfand.

The second guest, the orchestra director from Brown Community College, said something similar: “‘I want you in my orchestra. I want you to come major in music.” Thus, Brown Community College became the place where Gelfand began her musical education, before going on to graduate from Florida Atlantic University.

Gelfand spent the early years of her teaching career in Palm Beach County. After moving back from Connecticut, she interviewed at St. Charles Borromeo, but decided to return home to Palm Beach, where she started two part-time jobs that she loved. But when spring break of 2014 came around, Gelfand came to Orlando for her daughter’s wedding — and she got a phone call.

“I was still up here because I was watching her dog, and it was my spring break. I answered the phone because it was an Orlando area code. It was the same principal who had tried to hire me previously, and she asked if I would reconsider taking the job; she asked when I could come to Orlando. I went over that same day and talked to her,” said Gelfand. “I wanted a fresh start, my daughter was here, and I was getting offered this job a second time. I was thinking, ‘There must be a reason. God must want me to be at this school for some reason. I’m going to take this job.’”

In the five years since Gelfand accepted the position, she’s loved watching the music program flourish. Just this year, the band has grown from seven students to 38, and the chorus from 15 to 35. She’s enjoyed singing fun, silly songs with three-year-olds; she’s watched 8th graders create impressive TV jingles; she’s taught students everything from musical composition to famous composers to how music affects our daily lives.

“I see kids who have never, ever read music or picked up an instrument, and have no idea what’s happening — get it. It’s the joy of what I do,” said Gelfand. “I absolutely love being able to watch my students grow and see what they accomplish. That’s the reason I love working at a PreK-8 school. I always tell them, my goal isn’t to make music teachers out of you! My goal is to share my passion for music with you; my knowledge. And to give you the opportunity to do something you never thought could do, which is to play music or perform onstage. I’ve had parents tell me how they can tell I love what I do, and that’s what I want. I hope my students get that I do what I do because I love it, and I want to share that with them.”

As a private school in Orlando, our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.