It’s time to tell our teachers how much they mean to us. From 2-8th May it’ll be Teacher Appreciation Week. It’s a period mainly observed in the US but since in the UK schools we mark Teacher Appreciation Day on the 2nd, why not make a whole week of it?
What would we do without teachers? Most of us can remember an educator who really encouraged or inspired us in some way, and today teachers are devoting their days to building up the next generation. We know how hard they work, the stresses they face and the lack of appreciation they may sometimes feel. So, here’s five ways to help the teachers in your school know just how much they matter to you.
1. Champion of the week
Something to build into your plans for the year – every week have a ‘teaching champion of the week’ (or whatever celebratory title you like), someone who gets a specific shoutout and celebration of who they are. You might be applauding them for taking on extra responsibilities, dealing with a tricky pastoral situation or finishing a big project like a school play or trip. You could celebrate them in assembly, staff meeting or weekly newsletters. Anything that recognises the individual and their specific contributions (when you encourage someone it’s often good to be specific!), and shows you’re an environment that values its teachers.
2. Something special from senior leadership
Could your Senior Leadership Team do something together to entertain or celebrate the rest of the staff? It’s a great opportunity to set the tone from the top by showing how the SLT sees and appreciates everyone. It could be a bit silly too, to show you don’t take yourselves too seriously. You could do something like singing a song or doing a little comedy skit. We hard of one school where the SLT reenacted dramatic and memorable highlights from the school year as a fun way of looking back and making people laugh. If you’re feeling, maybe you’d just like to make a speech, or send a dedicated message to staff from the SLT.
3. Thank you cards from everyone at school
Here’s a way to get every individual in the school in the spirit of celebration and gratitude. Give everyone, students or staff, a thank you card that they can fill out and address to one member of staff (could be teachers, administration or housekeeping). It doesn’t have to be long, just a little note to tell them they’re appreciated and why. Then they can deliver those cards in person (or leave them on the individual’s desk/locker). Hopefully, the result is a great wave of encouragement and affirmation sweeping across your school. People could write multiple cards of course, for different members of staff. You might want to write extra cards to make sure no member of staff gets left out.
4. Get parents involved
Why not get parents involved in the affirmation too? You could write to parents inviting them to message their child’s teachers to say thank you. They might want to do that in-person, with a handwritten note or just an email. Parents often get gifts for teachers at the end of the year but why not invite a little mid-year gratitude?
5. Little treats go a long way
There’ll be loads more ideas not mentioned here that could give a lift to your teachers. You might not be in a position to give everyone the raise you’d like to give them, but inexpensive little treats can go a long way in boosting your team. Whether it’s a handwritten Christmas card from the Headteacher, little sweet treats from time to time, or just making time for those in-person words of affirmation. Let’s celebrate our teachers!