Expressing Teacher Appreciation Year Round

We celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week annually during the first full week of May, but teachers’ important work should be honored regularly throughout the school year. While Teacher Appreciation Week can be a fun time for special parties or celebrations, school leaders can find new ways to extend the celebration to help teachers feel continuously supported. Read on to find three ways to regularly express teacher appreciation!

Honor Teachers' Time

It’s no secret that teachers (and all school staff) are busy! School leaders can help support and celebrate teachers year-round by strategically scheduling meetings, additional duties, and planning in ways that honor teachers’ valuable time. Analyze the school calendar to determine a reasonable number of meetings and allot 1-2 days each week to be free of meetings and reserved for dedicated work time teachers can use to tackle their classroom needs. Creating a rotation for morning, bus, lunch, or dismissal duty can also help maintain balance for teachers as they manage such a wide variety of tasks in-and-out of the classroom. By reserving time for teachers to plan and collaborate, site leaders demonstrate their appreciation for all of the hard work that goes into creating engaging learning experiences.

Create a Welcoming Environment

Teachers work in fast paced environments that require everything from planning lessons and differentiating instruction to building relationships with students and supporting their social, emotional, and educational needs. Providing a welcoming, supportive environment for teachers creates an important sense of belonging that empowers them to share ideas, communicate openly about their needs, and collaboratively problem solve. Teacher Appreciation Week often calls for formal celebrations or parties, but a positive work environment helps keep staff morale up all year long. Find opportunities to connect with teachers and involve them in planning conversations—their ideas are valuable since they are on the front lines of change! Leaders can participate in professional learning communities or team meetings and get to know their staff’s strengths and goals to show they are appreciated—the same way teachers build relationships with students and co-workers!

 Evaluate how the school community can come together to support teachers and aid in building an encouraging environment. Designate spaces like a teacher’s lounge for teachers to gather, unwind, and bond as teammates. Teachers may choose to eat lunch, drink coffee, or chat together if they have a space that is just “theirs”! If the existing space needs improvement, consider involving the Parent Teacher Association or other community members to pitch in and show teachers how much they are appreciated!

Regularly Celebrate Wins

The school year is often marked with student milestones like first days, school breaks, standardized testing, or graduations—make sure to find time to celebrate the wins that teachers see throughout the year! Consider how you can highlight teachers’ efforts and wins on a regular basis, whether that is a “Teacher of the Week”, monthly awards, or even regular shout-outs to honor teachers’ achievements. Teachers and teaching teams may be making strides in trying new strategies, introducing technology, or building relationships with students in ways that are not immediately noticed outside of their classrooms. But finding ways to honor and announce these wins helps teachers feel celebrated all year long!

2024 Teacher Appreciation Week runs May 6-11, but that doesn’t mean the appreciation ends there! Teachers who feel supported are more likely to return to the classroom year over year, so finding ways to ensure your staff feels appreciated, celebrated, and encouraged can help contribute to staff retention and create a healthy school community.

Find More Ideas to Help Retain Your Best Educators and Overcome the Teacher Shortage!