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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Teacher Appreciation...Year-Round

Teacher Appreciation...Year-Round

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I will start this by saying I am not a teacher (as in career) nor do I work in a school. I am a parent. So I can’t speak first hand on how it feels to be in the classroom with the responsibilities or pressures that one experiences. BUT, I do recognize that they are there and just as with any job, it is nice to hear some positive feedback for your efforts on occasion. Constructive criticism is important for us to improve as individuals…but I believe praise and recognition help keep us going through those rough days. Days when you think you can no longer do anymore.

First, as we approach Teacher Appreciation Week, I think it is important that we realize that every person in our schools needs to be included. Everyone from the secretaries to custodians to cafeteria staff to aides impact our children and play an integral part in their education. The classroom teacher accepts the primary responsibility – but the others in the building support those efforts and have the ability to teach and model so many other skills.

Showing our appreciation for what educators do one week out of the year is nice, but will that carry them through the next 51 weeks? Will it help them get past the rough week 4 weeks prior? Personally, I’m not a fan of ever showing appreciation for someone 1 day (or week) out of the year. We should be recognizing the efforts made by educators on a daily basis and use teacher appreciation week as a time that we simply step it up a notch.

Ways that we have tried to recognize our school staff throughout the year…

  • featuring them in our school newsletter,
  • bringing them in with their students to our monthly PTO meeting to share what they have been exposing/teaching our children about,
  • tweeting out (and posting to our Facebook) thank you’s and efforts made as we witness or hear about them (I wish we were around to say daily),
  • sending them an email or handwritten note thanking them (just because)…or better yet, our children to writing or drawing something for them.

This year, our students have written messages about the teachers (how they've impacted or influenced them, something they loved about them or what they admire them for). We then compiled those with candid pictures and created a photo book to leave in the staff lounge; a constant reminder that they are appreciated ALL year long. (Here’s hoping none of them read this before then.)

How do you recognize the wonderful efforts made by your colleagues or children’s school staff on a regular on-going basis? What can we do for staff appreciation week that will kick off a year’s worth of regular recognition and praise?

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Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal

As a parent, I try to make sure that I'm respectful of the time the teachers put into my kids- which means making sure my kids do what they're supposed to do. I also buy lunch for the teacher a couple of times a year (just drop off a menu and say, "Pick something you love but never order- including dessert. What day this week do you want it?"

I also send in "extra" whenever I can. If we're supposed to send in $5 for a field trip, I send in $10 (if I can afford it) to help defray the cost for kids who can't afford it. I send it hand sanitizer or paper or a box of pencils- whatever I can manage- because I know that, if the kids need it, the teachers are going to buy it out of their own pockets if need be. Same goes for mittens, hats, snacks and scarves.

Kathy Renfrew's picture

As a classroom teacher for 30+ year, I more than appreciate the original note and the intent behind it, I now have a daughter as a 3 rd year teacher and I try to let her know whenever she does something really well. I try to catch her sharing her thoughts and really listen to her and then provide an objective perspective on a situation.

I also know that when I got a note from a child I had in a multiage grade 5/6 as she was graduating from college telling me that I was the reason she became a scientist my heart soared.

Former students are finding me on Face Book and asking to be my friend.

In my current position as the K-5 Science Coordinator at the Agency of Education, I do try to celebrate teachers all year long by sharing articles, tweeting about their classrooms, etc.

Kathy Renfrew

Gwen Pescatore's picture
Gwen Pescatore
President Home & School Assoc, #ParentCamp Organizer, Co-Moderator #PTchat

Datanotdogma- The genuine, from the heart gifts and notes of thanks are what I stress to my kids when I have them think about how they want to say thank you to their teachers...but no matter how hard I try, my little girl still loves picking out "the cheap jewelry" to give. I have to share, that the gift (although cheap in our minds), is from the bottom of her heart in true appreciation of her teacher. So please don't take offense, it doesn't signify any less respect necessarily...the giver just has a different idea of what is the best gift.

Enjoy the remainder of your school year (if any remains) and...Thank You!

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