These Teacher Appreciation Week tributes are ridiculously heartwarming.

It's Teacher Appreciation Week, and students, parents, and administrators all across America are stepping up to honor the people who devote their careers to enriching minds and shaping lives.

Educators from Maine to Alaska walked into their schools to find their desks, doors, and hallways covered with messages of love, support, and thanks.

The tributes were about as lovely — and creative — as you'd expect.


Some teachers were showered with gifts.

Others were showered with ... nachos.

Some students upped their fruit game.

And others upped their decoration game ... like these fourth-graders in Wisconsin.

Kids at a Las Vegas school honored their teachers with a dance routine:

A North Carolina school created a Walk of Fame for its star educators.

"I felt super special," says Emily Francis, an ESL teacher.  "Reading every teacher's names made me feel part of a team making a difference and changing lives."

Students from a Missouri elementary school went classic and delivered flowers to their teachers.

"A parent stood at the door and gave each kid a flower as they walked in, after they had already delivered an empty 'vase' (popcorn bucket) to each of us before the day started," says Jen Bearden, a first-grade teacher at the school. "I was then greeted with 21 smiles and thank-yous to begin my week."

And a Baltimore-area school won the day by treating its teachers to the greatest gift of all: free pizza.

Meanwhile, hundreds of adults posted on Twitter to pay tribute to the educators who shaped their lives:

Americans clearly appreciate their teachers — but as a country, we sometimes have a funny way of showing it.

A 2016 study published by the Economic Policy Institute found that public school teachers earn 17% less than other college-educated professionals on average.

Teacher salaries have actually decreased since the mid-'90s, when adjusted for inflation, despite them working 10+ hour days, in many cases.

Truly acknowledging our teachers' centrality in shaping our lives and the lives of our children should mean paying them what they're worth and helping them do their jobs effectively.

That means supporting teachers' right to a strong union and supporting their efforts to negotiate higher salaries. It can also mean donating classroom supplies, which many teachers have to provide themselves, or volunteering in your local school.

For next Teacher Appreciation Week, it's on us to help give America's educators the best gifts of all: support in the classroom, adequate time off, and a fair wage.

Though ... I'm sure they'd appreciate the free pizza again too.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
True

This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

Keep Reading Show less
Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

Keep Reading Show less
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."