WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) -- "The pandemic has hit hard on a lot of families, including our teachers," says Stephanie Daniels, the Aspirus branch director for the Woodson YMCA in Weston. Daniels sees the daily work early childhood teachers there do at the Woodson YMCA in Weston, knowing the work they do is essential, but may often go unnoticed.
"Our teachers, and childcare teachers across the nation, they work 52 weeks a year," Daniels says.
And it's been a tough year, so having Teacher Appreciation Week designed to celebrate teachers means a lot.
"Just to have someone say, 'I see what you're doing, I understand what you're doing, and I appreciate it,' that's important to everybody. So we're thankful to have this opportunity to recognize the work of our staff," says Wausau School District Superintendent Keith Hilts. He wanted to keep the larger celebrations planned for the Wausau School District a surprise. Daniels said the same for the YMCA.
But Hilts and Daniels know teachers appreciate the smaller gestures, and don't only need a big celebration to feel appreciated.
"Sometimes the simple things mean the most, so an email of appreciation, cards...I've got a bunch of cards that I've received over the years," Hilts says.
"If you're at a store and you see some Paper Mate pens, teachers love pens. Like, just pick up a pen, give it to your teacher," Daniels says.
Though it's just called Teacher Appreciation Week, it's not against the rules to celebrate educators all year.
"You can thank your teacher at any time, and no teacher is going to say 'nope, no thanks, I'll wait till tomorrow to receive that,'" Daniels says.
She also reminds everyone nobody is too old or too young show appreciation for a teacher.