Be the Spark: 30+ Ways to Celebrate Teachers All Year Round

The first week of May has been reserved for “Teacher Appreciation Week.” It is during this time that students, families, community members, educational organizations, and administrators are encouraged to show their appreciation for the dedication and hard-work educators demonstrate throughout the year. I enjoy this week every year as I work to find unique ways to show my gratitude for the team I work with. What I would also encourage, is to find opportunities to show appreciation and gratitude throughout the year in simple, but meaningful ways. Below is a list of ideas that you may find to support you in honoring teachers and staff!

  1. Provide staff with a certificate for a moment of serenity or classroom coverage. Offer to cover their class for a short time while they grab a cup of coffee, enjoy a moment of extra plan time, or take a minute for themselves.
  2. Offer to cover recess duty while a staff member takes a break. Win-Win as you provide them an extra moment of plan time and you build relationships with kids on the playground!
  3. Buy a favorite professional book. Write a personalized note in the front cover. Take it to the next level and reach out to the author of the book for them to send a short video message introducing the book!
  4. Ask the Regional Office of Education Superintendent to call staff and thank them for their work!
  5. Reach out to former colleagues, students, parents or community members to have them write notes of appreciation!
  6. Create personalized posters of the teacher with a teacher appreciation quote to hang on their door.
  7. Take a picture of staff members working with kids. Print it out and provide them a copy with a note of appreciation.
  8. Pick up the phone and call a staff member’s spouse or parent. I loved the idea from Adam Welcome and Todd Nesloney from “Kids Deserve It” and think it is a great idea for staff as well!
  9. Take a favorite quote or saying and make an infographic. Print it out, tie it with a bow, and provide a copy to each staff member.
  10. Using a word cloud generator, create a personalized word cloud for each staff member.
  11. Create a certificate to celebrate the conclusion of a book study, participation in a PLC, service on a committee, or participation in a twitter challenge or building level professional learning opportunity.
  12. Using an old trophy, establish a staff traveling trophy. Encourage staff to award to to colleagues and pass it around!
  13. Provide digital badges for participation in a book study or professional learning opportunity.                                    
  14. Don’t underestimate the power of an inexpensive, quirky plastic trophy or kitschy give-a-way!                                              
  15. Ask a local nursery or green thumb community member to donate small plants or hostas that can be replanted at their home
  16. Invite a local food truck or coffee truck to park at the school to provide lunch, lattes, or sweet treats to staff during the school day.
  17. Partner with a local spa or chiropractor to do mini-massages during lunch hours for staff members.
  18. Reach out to a local nail salon and invite them to do mini manicures for staff members.                                               
  19. Don’t underestimate the power of grab-and-go snacks in the teacher’s lounge or make it portable and take a cart around the school to serve staff in their classrooms.
  20. As you prep for staff meetings or workshops, survey staff regarding their favorite snacks and treats. Ensure they are ready for them meeting! I loved this idea from @KimDarche                             
  21. Make a donation to a charity that has roots in the school
  22. Buy them flair pens. Something about flair pens that make teachers happy!
  23. Provide meaningful feedback and show appreciation with handwritten notes. Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf are the QUEENS of this. Read “Lead Like a Pirate” for more detail on how to structure these “ANCHOR” conversations
  24. Write notes of appreciation or inspirational messages and leave them in unexpected places: the restroom, the lunch room, on the plates in the teacher’s lounge, on coffee cups, ect.
  25. Two words: Jeans Day!                      
  26. Allow staff to leave at student dismissal time (no after school duty).
  27. Reach out to the mayors office for a proclamation.
  28. Nominate them for a local, regional or state teaching award.
  29. Celebrate their accomplishments with a post on school social media.
  30. Use chalk to write positive messages on the walkways to the building or in their parking areas.
  31. Ask students to record video messages of appreciation and compile them in an iMovie to share with staff.
  32. Display a banner outside the school. Get a group picture near it and post on social media celebrating staff!
  33. Display pictures of staff at the age of the grade they teach!
  34. Develop a staff appreciation hashtag. Encourage families to use it!
  35. Use a green screen and take pictures of staff. Personalize the background to match a teacher appreciation theme            
  36. Match a handwritten note with a small gift that reminds you of a particular staff member.                                         

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