Creative Ways to Show Educator Appreciation for Your Staff

Apr 26, 2024
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You know your teachers deserve more than just a simple ‘thank you’ for the hours, energy, and heart they pour into in making your school community as amazing as it is. But sometimes, a simple recognition can mean the world. Here are a few fun ideas to get you inspired:

1. Get Into a Theme

What do the best parties, poetry, and even parks all have in common? Themes. Arranging a special staff lunch, setting up a coffee and donuts one morning, or even taking the time to celebrate a teacher birthday are all easy ways to show your staff you care. But taking the extra step to sprinkle in a fun theme to tie it all together can really wow the crowd. Not only does throwing a fun theme over a gesture of appreciation give your staff something to look forward to, it also shows that you are willing to put in the extra effort to make things special for them. Check out these fun theme ideas by Julie David.

2. Choose a ‘Star of the Week’

To really wow your teachers, go the extra mile by periodically selecting a member of your staff to be the teacher’s lounge ‘Star of the Week.’ You can find a simple Star of the Week template online, and either have your Star Educator fill it out themselves with a few fun “get-to-know-me” facts, or create their Star of the Week poster yourself. Once its ready, find a place to put it up where everyone can see, like the teacher’s lounge or the front office. It may seem a little silly at first, but spotlighting your teachers shows that you see them (and appreciate) who they are, inside and outside of the school building. Plus, it’s a great way for everyone to get to know each other a little better throughout the year.

3. Make an Appreciation Routine

Regularly shining the spotlight on your staff, via a post from your school social account, an email blast, or just an old-fashioned shout-out during your next team meeting, is great way to show you see the incredible things they are doing, and you value how hard they are working. Check out these fun and free downloadable gratitude cards from Edmentum you can start sharing with your staff right now.

4. Surprise!

Who doesn’t love a nice surprise? Taking the time to arrange a fun surprise, like leaving a small treat on a teacher’s desk, setting up a day of free chair massages or a visit from a local food truck during lunchtime, or even just jumping on the announcements one morning to remind the whole school how much you appreciate that hard work you see every day, is a fun way to make sure your appreciation feels genuine and sincere.

5. Don’t Forget the Little Things

The little things really do go a long way. Suspect someone is having a tough week? Try bringing by a cup of coffee or tea. Or maybe you’ve noticed a member of your staff has been doing an especially great job lately? Perhaps you can take a moment to leave a nice hand-written note on their desk to let them know you’re grateful. Taking time to practice small, personal gestures not only helps build trust and boost productivity around your school, it can also help cultivate a culture of support and positive rapport within your community.

6. Classroom Coverage Tokens

Offer teachers the gift of time by providing them with classroom coverage tokens that they can redeem when they need a brief break or assistance. Whether it's for a bathroom break, a quick phone call, or a moment to collect their thoughts, these tokens demonstrate your commitment to supporting their well-being and workload management. Encourage staff members to pay it forward by offering their tokens to colleagues in need.

Professional Development Opportunities

Invest in the professional growth and development of your teaching staff by offering opportunities for ongoing learning and skill enhancement. Whether it's sponsoring attendance at conferences, providing access to online courses and certifications, or hosting in-house training sessions led by expert educators, these initiatives empower teachers to expand their knowledge, refine their teaching practices, and stay abreast of the latest trends and research in education.

Remember, while a catered lunch is certainly appreciated, educators need support and action from school leaders. One of the best ways school leaders can show appreciation for educators is by protecting them from experiencing burnout and fostering a positive school community.

Looking for more ways to celebrate teacher appreciation month? Check out our article, Teacher Appreciation Month: Self Care Tips for Educators.

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