Like all holidays, Teacher Appreciation Day/Week officially comes once a year. But thanks to Diane Hodges’ book, Season It with Fun! A Year of Recognition, Fun, and Celebrations to Enliven Your School, we have 10 simple ways you can engage your teachers and show them appreciation right away!
Begin with a Bang! 10 Ways to Engage Teachers and Show Them Appreciation
Start a Graffiti Wall
Spray-painting pictures and messages is a blast, but there are very few spaces set aside for people to do this without breaking the law or ruining property!
As a solution, more and more schools have started setting aside a designated wall (or walls) on which it is OK to express positive emotions with chalk and spray paint. This is the perfect place for principals to give shout-outs to their staff and teachers.
Send Summer Emails
It’s easy to lose track of each other over the summer. If you haven’t done this yet, send your teachers and staff emails just to say “hi,” or to share news and pictures of projects that have been taking place at the school since they’ve been gone. This is also a great way to pass along information about new staff members.
Do you have any travel plans? Are you attending any conferences before school begins? If so, purchase postcards from the host city. Send them to colleagues to let them know what you’re up to and wish them a happy summer full of renewal and rejuvenation.
Collect cartoons or pictures that relate to the summer or start of school. Next, remove any captions that go with the pictures and send one in each back-to-school letter to staff members. Their task is to create a humorous caption for their image and share it at your first staff meeting of the year.
On the first day of school, have wake-up calls made to each of your staff members by using a website called Wakerupper. Say something positive and uplifting, such as “Happy first day of school! We are all looking forward to seeing you today and know that we are going to have a fabulous new year!”
A Star Event
The night before staff members arrive for the first day of school, leave a note in each staff member’s room with a personalized compliment on paper titled “Wishing You a Stellar Year.”
Above and Beyond
Send a welcome-back letter to staff members and include a balloon and strip of paper in it. Ask each staff member to write a personal goal on the paper and insert it into the balloon. Then, on the first day back, collect and fill the balloons with helium. Use them to decorate the meeting room. As a part of the day’s agenda, discuss the theme and plan events for the year. At the end of the day, have each staff member randomly select a balloon, pop it, and read the goal written inside. Post all of the goals in a common meeting place as a reminder of the group’s plans to go above and beyond this year.
Thought for the Week
Type inspiring quotes on small strips of colored paper and place them in a ribbon-decorated jar. At the beginning of the year, give each staff member a jar for his or her desk.
Recognizing New Staff
Before the school year begins, send an email to all returning staff members. In it, include a picture and bio of each new staff member. This will allow team members to identify things they have in common with the new staff and will help them engage in conversation when they meet.
Provide Dinner Between School and Back-to-School Night
You know from personal experience how exhausting it can be to teach all day and then host Back-to-School night. Give your teachers a break this year by having an early dinner catered for them.