Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week. Although we at Education Elements believe that teachers should be celebrated on any day that ends in a “y”, we also are excited to join in the Nationwide celebrations next week. As a former teacher, a little “thank you” went a long way, a gifted morning coffee fueled me to empower my students through testing season, and a card highlighting my impact reminded me of my “why.”
In fact, according to McKinsey data from 2021 – although compensation, work-life balance and health were all critically important – employees noted the importance of feeling valued by their organizations and managers, and feeling a sense of belonging.
Next week is about giving teachers that little bit of extra credit that they have very much earned. The last few years gave us a glimpse into the true magicians that teachers are, now it’s our turn to provide a small token of magic! It’s not too late to plan a little something to celebrate the teachers in your life.
So, below are a few concrete ideas of ways you can ensure your teachers get recognition they deserve next week and beyond:
Time. Offer to cover a teachers lunch/recess/arrival/dismissal duty, so they can enjoy a few moments to catch up on planning or take a moment to breathe.
Brief interruption. Bring a smoothie/coffee/ice cream cart, rolling by classrooms. The act of surprise is one teachers always enjoy!
Praise from a student. Film a video, take a picture, capture student quotes, prompt students to share gratitude. Include students in celebrating teachers’ successes to emphasize the impact they have each day.
Food. Find out what a teacher's favorite snack or coffee is. Teacher fuel is always a favorite!
Public praise. Celebrate specific accomplishments through shout-outs on twitter or signs outside the classroom door.
Private praise. Send in a handwritten note, email or simply pick up the phone to thank a teacher. Share a specific example of impact.
Gift Cards. Teachers spend so much of their own money on school supplies from Amazon and Target. Help them by giving back! Teacher’s also work late nights and could use a meal in the classroom one evening via a local meal delivery service card such as DoorDash or UberEats.
Anything handmade. If your child is too young to write a thank you, have them draw a picture or make something for their teacher’s desk that shows how they have made a difference.
Ask what they may need. I’ll never forget when a parent simply asked me what I needed for my classroom. Post it notes, highlighters, and a few glue sticks later, I was able to enhance my lesson the next day!
As you plan to thank teachers next week, consider consistent ways to celebrate them beyond May 6th. We previously published the 40 ways to Celebrate Teachers and Teacher Impact which explores consistent celebrations and their role in impacting teacher retention including:
What impact can consistent celebrations have at my school?
What steps can I take to focus on consistent celebrations at my school?
What are some concrete ways I can celebrate teachers at my school?
When are some key times to celebrate teachers at my school?
If you would like to publicly share your gratitude for a teacher, join us next week on Twitter as we nominate and thank teachers through a twitter challenge. Follow @EdElements to join in! We will also be sharing more information on twitter and our website about a free online yoga/meditation class for teachers to step back and take a break during their special week!
About Megan Huneck D'Ambrosio
Megan Huneck is a Senior Design Principal on the Design & Implementation team, collaborating with district and school leaders to develop and implement personalized learning initiatives. Prior to joining the Education Elements team, Megan taught for six years in Arlington Virginia Public Schools (VA). While teaching, Megan was chosen to be a member of the LearnZillion DreamTeam where she facilitated engaging blended professional learning experiences for Syracuse City School District (NY) instructional leaders and teacher leaders.