Teacher Receives A Clown Nose As An ‘Appreciation Gift’ From Her School Administration— ‘This Is Why We’re Fed Up’

Teachers deserve dignity and respect, not joke gifts.

teacher in classroom Drazen Zigic / Shutterstock

Teachers in the U.S. have an especially difficult job. Not only are they molding young minds for the future, but they’re also responsible for keeping their students safe in an increasingly dangerous environment.

Their work encompasses both practical and emotional labor as they impart skills like reading, writing, and socialization.

May 6, 2024, marked the start of Teacher Appreciation Week, a five-day holiday meant to honor educators nationwide. Yet, as highlighted by one Texas teacher's experience, some schools missed the mark in offering their gratitude.


The teacher received a clown nose as an ‘appreciation gift’ from her school’s administration.

In a since-deleted video, the educator, named Nia, filmed herself in her classroom, noting, “I just had to come on here real quick; I never do this,” before revealing how her school celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week.

teacher helping student in class Pavel Danilyuk / Canva Pro


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She gave solid proof as to why “teachers are fed up and leaving the workforce.”

“This week, if you don’t know, is Teacher Appreciation Week, along with nurses,” she said, two professions that are historically female-led, underappreciated, and underpaid.

“Our admin come around and give us this bag,” Nia said, showing a red and white striped paper bag with a tag stating, “This place would be a circus without you. Thanks for all that you do.”

teacher outside classroom PeopleImages.com-Yuri A. / Shutterstock


She opened the bag to reveal a red foam clown nose, a gift that wasn’t quite a gift at all.

Nia held up the clown nose for all of TikTok to see. With a frustrated expression on her face, she asked, “What is this?”

It’s ironic that her appreciation gift was a clown nose, as teachers’ salaries and workload have become more of a joke in recent years.

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The gift added insult to injury: Instead of actual appreciation, a clown nose highlights how little respect teachers get.

Teachers do some of society’s most important work for a very meager paycheck.


According to the National Education Association, the average starting salary for a teacher in the U.S. is $44,530.

While teachers’ income has increased in some states, it hasn’t kept up with rising inflation rates. The NEA reported that when adjusted for inflation, teachers make an average of 5% less than they did 10 years ago.

77% of school districts pay a starting salary below $50,000, and teachers' salaries top out at $100,000 in only 16.6% of districts.

Teacher burnout is a very real phenomenon.

It’s no wonder that teachers are leaving the profession in droves, given the low compensation and daily struggles they face.

In 2023, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that 8% of public school teachers left the profession between 2020 and 2022.


The NCES press release also described the ways in which former teachers’ lives improved after finding new work.

teacher with student Drazen Zigic / Shutterstock

66% of former teachers reported a better work-life balance in their new jobs. 60% said they had more autonomy and control over their work. 58% said their new jobs were not only more manageable but also gained more professional prestige.


The tides are turning in education for teachers and their students, who seem woefully unprepared for any challenge outside of a school setting.

Nia’s appreciation gift was both insulting and disrespectful. What teachers want are safe classrooms, equitable pay, and resources for their students, not silly little presents that will inevitably get thrown away.

Teachers deserve so much more than just one week of appreciation. They deserve compensation for their labor, as their role determines our country’s future success. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.