Thanks to Teachers: Showing Appreciation From Administrators
It’s back-to-school season, and teachers are hard at work preparing their classrooms, going over routines and procedures, and putting the finishing touches on innovative lessons for their students. Teachers are the backbone of any school system. In fact, one could say that because teachers prepare the next generation for adult life, they are the backbone of society, yet many of them feel underappreciated. Showing appreciation to teachers in thoughtful, creative ways will lift their spirits and guarantee students and parents a better school year.
Top Ways to Show Teacher Appreciation
Fortunately, there are several great ideas for thanking teachers at any time of year. For instance, most teachers pay for classroom supplies out of their own pockets, and essential classroom items can get lost or broken throughout the year. Parents, administrators, and colleagues can offer teachers coupons for local school supply stores or share commonly needed supplies for a set period – a few weeks, a month, or a semester, as needed.
Additionally, teachers enjoy sweet treats just like their students. Administrators can leave “Cookie Coupons” or “Coffee Coupons” in teachers’ mailboxes. These can be redeemed in the cafeteria for a dessert, a cup of coffee, or anything else the teacher would like. Similarly, principals and other administrators should consider hosting “thank you” breakfasts or brunches periodically with a mix of healthy and indulgent food options.
The teaching profession is uniquely challenging because teachers have to be “on” all day. They don’t get the same breaks that workers in other fields do because their students constantly need them.
One popular way administrators can show their appreciation is through a “break lottery.” Teachers submit their names, and the winning instructors are drawn at random. The winning teachers get a free two-hour break during which a principal, administrator, or fellow teacher will cover the winner’s class. This can be done at any time during the year, and past winners can move out of the rotation to give others a chance for the break.
Make Them Feel Special
Teachers feel appreciated when their special interests are recognized. Administrators can use knowledge of their teachers’ special interests to show gratitude. Reward teachers with gift certificates to favorite stores or restaurants or certificates redeemable for a service such as a car wash or a massage. These can be tied to specific achievements like perfect attendance or high test scores, but this isn’t always necessary. In fact, teachers may feel more appreciated when they receive these gifts “just because.”
The smallest gestures carry the most gratitude, especially in teaching. Some principals use an “Encouraging Words Chain” through email or the school website. This chain allows teachers, administrators, and staff members to exchange praise and encouraging words based on the good things everyone is doing. Additionally, the chain can be used for virtual pep talks during challenging times, such as testing week, parent-teacher conference week, or any time that a teacher is going through a rough time personally or professionally.
Finally, remember that teachers need time to be casual, engage in adult conversation, and simply relax. Declare Casual Friday or a periodic Jeans Day so teachers can feel more relaxed in the classroom. Reward especially hardworking teachers with early release time or a slot at fun and informative conferences.