Across the country, many teachers are arriving to work to find banners that say “We Appreciate You,” continental breakfasts laid out in the staff lounge, and “Thank You” cards placed in their mailboxes.
I’ll be honest, I’ve never really been ‘into’ Teacher Appreciation Week.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate being appreciated. What I don’t get is the shallow outpouring of Hallmark-style “Thank You’s” that, while a thoughtful gesture, do not really make me feel ‘appreciated.’
Here are some of my thoughts on how to make teachers feel truly appreciated:
- Have students write letters to their teacher on any random day–maybe when s/he is out sick, or maybe through a publicly placed dropbox for “Letters to My Teacher.”
- Give teachers a voice in the school—let teachers run events and be involved in planning for instructional and non-instructional initiatives.
- Give teachers time to collaborate with their peers in meaningful ways, whether that means through structured meetings or peer observations.
- Ensure that teachers have enough planning time to be prepared for high-quality instruction and assessment.
- When something new is coming down the line, give teachers plenty of notice to prepare, clarify expectations and ask questions.
- Trust teachers to be professionals and let their strengths shine every day.
- Highlight amazing things going on in teachers’ classrooms and share them with the rest of the staff on at least a weekly basis.
As the old adage goes, “Actions speak louder than words.”
Everyone loves a table of goodies and coffee and card, but it’s the actions we do on a regular basis that really make people feel appreciated.
That said, to all of my colleagues out there, I appreciate the hard work that you do, the resources and advice that you share every day and the many times you have helped me get through a tough day and made me smile.