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10 Simple Ways for Principals to Show Teachers Appreciation

Posted on Wed, Aug 20, 2014 @ 13:08 PM

principals, teacher appreciationWe always make it a point to honor our teachers during National Teacher Appreciation Day, but we know that trying to cram all of our appreciation into a single day can feel slightly disingenuous to teachers. Rather than wait for May to roll around again, we’d like to share 10 simple ways principals can recognize teachers throughout the year. These ideas have been adapted from Emily Houck’s book, 100 Ways to Recognize and Reward Your School Staff.

A Bit O’ Grape
Presenting a teacher with a bottle of wine may not be in your sweet spot, but you can still give a bit o’ grape without bringing alcohol onto campus.

How about a bottle of non-alcoholic, sparkling wine instead? We like to present “wine” to teachers and staff members who work tirelessly and never whine or complain. Since we’re suckers for word puns, we always like to attach a note to the bottle that says, “You are appreciated! Thank you for always working hard and never “wining.”

Helium Surprise
Set your alarm early so you can get to school before your most appreciated teacher. Cover the teacher’s desk with balloons by either taping them to the surface of the desk or filling them with helium and taping the ribbon down. Attach notes to the balloons that highlight specific things you appreciate about the teacher.

The Brush Off
If you live in a part of the country where it snows, the brush off will work. Prepare tickets in advance that say, “You have been brushed by a member of Student Council.” On days when it snows during school hours, send a dozen students out to the teacher parking lot to brush off windshields and leave a note under the wipers.

The Wash Down
This is an alternative for those of you that live in places that get snow. As with the brush off, grab a dozen students and send them out to the teacher parking lot to wash cars!

Two-Hour Break
At each faculty meeting, hold a lottery drawing for a "free" two-hour break during which time you will cover a teacher's class. Let the winner know that s/he can use this ticket at any time, but must set the time a week in advance. 

Business Cards
Order business cards for every staff member. What your teachers and staff members do for our children and society is critical and should be treated as such! Teachers deserve to have their own business cards.  

No Work Talk
Hold a faculty and staff “meeting” where teachers cannot discuss anything related to work—no education talk, no student talk, no talk about grading. Anyone who breaks the rule has to donate $1.00 to a charity fund. This works well if you go to a local restaurant or coffee shop, too.

Clean out those files
Consider giving this reward to a teacher who really needs a break. This will give him or her a chance to come up for air. Here’s how it works:

Give a “Clean Out Your Files Day” to a deserving teacher. The teacher will still be “working,” so s/he isn’t counted as absent, but because you secured a substitute teacher that day, the teacher will be free to do something s/he has always wanted to do, but never had the time. This might be as simple as organizing a filing cabinet or preparing a lesson plan s/he’s always wanted to teach, but never had time to.

Gone Fishin’
This is slightly cheesy, but we’re not above it. Buy a package of Swedish Fish and attach a note that says one of the following:

  • We’re hooked on your great attitude
  • Your dedication is “fin-tastic”
  • Your team commitment makes a big splash
  • Your attention to detail is clear to “sea”
  • You dive into every task with enthusiasm
  • Your efforts make a whale of a difference

Put Your Feet Up
Cover the class or classes of a teacher and give him or her the afternoon off. Make sure the teacher goes and does something fun or relaxing and doesn’t go do school work!

Bravo!
This is as simple as they come. Have cards made up with the word “Bravo” on the front and nothing written on the inside. When you see something that deserves recognition, write a brief description on the inside with a note of thanks and place it in the teacher or staff member’s mailbox.

Photo credit: Carolyn_Sewell / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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Topics: Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, educational leaders, Teacher Appreciation

Begin with a Bang! 10 Ways to Show Teachers Appreciation

Posted on Tue, Jul 29, 2014 @ 16:07 PM

teacher appreciationLike 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.

Travel Postcards
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.

Caption It!
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.

Wake-Up Calls
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.

Photo credit: Ben Fredericson (xjrlokix) / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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Topics: Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, educational leaders, Teacher Appreciation

10 Ways Principals Can Show Teachers Appreciation

Posted on Wed, Dec 18, 2013 @ 14:12 PM

teacher appreciationLike all holidays, Teacher Appreciation Day/Week officially comes once a year. While most teachers will graciously accept any appreciation they can get—even if it’s only once a week or once a year—we’d like to share a few simple ways that you can start recognizing teachers throughout the year.  

10 Ways Principals Can Show Teachers Appreciation

  • If you live in a part of the country that gets snow, head out to the parking lot before school ends and brush the snow off your teachers’ cars. There’s no need to tell teachers about your act of kindness; they’ll figure it out by process of elimination.

  • Send positive emails and send them often. These don’t have to be lengthy for them to be meaningful. A quick sentence will do.

  • Reward teachers who go above and beyond by volunteering to cover their classes for the day. This should be treated as a “day off.” That means no grading papers or prepping!

  • Instead of giving teachers the entire day off, give teachers the choice of having an administrator cover two classes for the day.  

  • Find parent volunteers and start a “secret committee.” Every month this group will either prepare or serve surprise lunches for teachers.

  • Brag about your teachers’ accomplishments in newsletters, staff meetings and presentations to parents.

  • When other teachers, students or parents say something kind about a teacher, let that teacher know.

  • Here’s a suggestion from one of our Edmodo friends, Mrs. Pratt: During the next professional development event, order lunch and cover the tables with white butcher/bulletin board paper. Before teachers arrive, write personal notes about every one of them on the paper with crayon or marker.

    As the teachers arrive, give them time to walk around the tables and read all of the wonderful things you and the vice principal have said about them all.

  • Start having your meetings in a different classroom every week. It may surprise you how little time your teachers have spent in each other’s classrooms. Not only does this make for a nice change of scenery, it gives teachers the opportunity to “brag” about their own classrooms or activities.

 

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Topics: Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, effective principal, educational leaders, Role of Principal in School, Teacher Appreciation, teacher appreciation week

15 Ways for Principals to Show Teachers Their Appreciation

Posted on Wed, Oct 02, 2013 @ 11:10 AM

teacher appreciationNational Teacher Day isn’t until May, but in our experience, trying to cram all of our appreciation into a single day can feel slightly disingenuous to teachers. Rather than wait for May to roll around, we’re sharing 15 simple ways principals can recognize teachers throughout the year. We owe the principals over at Education World a big thank you for sharing their ideas. Should you find that the tips we’ve listed below aren’t enough, you’ll find 50 more by visiting the original article here.

15 Ways for Principals to Show Teachers Their Appreciation

  • Host a "Thank You Breakfast" during Teacher Appreciation Week, or during another time of the year when teachers least expect and most need it.

  • Recognize special contributions by putting "Cookie Coupons" in teachers' mailboxes. Arrange with the cafeteria for teachers to redeem those coupons for a special treat.

  • Whenever you are able, send a personally written—preferably, handwritten—note of thanks or appreciation to teachers "caught" caring or pulling off terrific classroom projects. Send at least a dozen of those notes each week. Keep a copy for the teacher's file; later in the school year you will be able to draw on those positive moments as you compose teachers' evaluations.

  • At each faculty meeting, hold a lottery drawing for a "free" two-hour break during which time you will cover a teacher's class. The break can be redeemed at any time, but it needs to be arranged at least a week in advance.

  • Each month, hold a party to recognize staff members who will celebrate birthdays that month.

  • Provide a duty-free week during scheduled state-test times. Arrange to have PTA parents or others cover those duties.

  • Purchase fresh flowers for teachers' desks during parent-teacher conference week.

  • In your public address announcements remind students to show appreciation for their teachers in all kinds of ways.

  • At the end of each grading period—when teachers have spent hours agonizing over student performance—send special notes of appreciation.

  • If you have lost part of your school vacation to snow days, provide some special treats on those makeup days to recognize the extra stress that goes with losing valuable R&R time or planning days.

  • If it starts snowing a couple hours before school lets out, go outside and scrape or brush off teachers' cars so they can get on the road soon after the bell rings.

  • Provide dinner between school and an evening PTA meeting.

  • Purchase a special book for the school library to recognize a teacher or honor a special occasion (for example, a retirement, a 20th teaching anniversary, or the completion of a master's degree). You might even give the teacher the choice of what book to purchase. Include inside the book a special bookplate to commemorate the teacher, the landmark occasion, and the date.

  • To recognize the start of spring, add fresh flowers to the teacher's room and provide each teacher with a flowering plant to brighten his or her desk. Serve up a snack of spring rolls—homemade, or ordered hot from a local Chinese restaurant—to accompany lunch.

  • At each faculty meeting, hold a random drawing for a "lunch of the month." On a specific day, those teachers will get to order-in from the restaurant-of-choice's menu.
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Topics: Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, effective principal, educational leaders, effective feedback, faculty meetings, Teacher Appreciation

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