Teacher Appreciation Week: A Time to Foster Engagement and Validation
As Teacher Appreciation Week fast approaches, it’s the perfect opportunity to put an intentional focus on appreciating the teachers and staff who make such a tremendous impact on the lives of students. The dedication, hard work, and compassion they demonstrate day in and day out is nothing short of remarkable. It’s important to acknowledge their contributions and let them know they are valued and appreciated. As a former educator and administrator, I’ve seen firsthand how these simple acts can have a profound effect on overall engagement, happiness, and commitment to the profession.
When teachers feel acknowledged and appreciated, they are more likely to stay in their current roles and their overall job satisfaction increases. This can contribute to a more positive and supportive learning environment for students. Validating the hard work that teachers do is crucial, as it can sometimes go unnoticed. Teachers who receive praise and recognition are more likely to be engaged in their work, motivated to improve, and committed to the success of their students.
Recognizing and celebrating teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week also helps create a sense of belonging within the school community. When teachers feel like they are loved and appreciated by their students, colleagues, and members of the administration, they are more likely to foster a sense of unity and collaboration. This unity extends to students, who will pick up on the positive atmosphere and respond by being more engaged and motivated in their own learning.
In addition to the tangible ways you can show appreciation to teachers, such as gifts, cards, and small tokens of gratitude like a catered lunch, administrators should also consider incorporating social-emotional learning (SEL) for adults during Teacher Appreciation Week. SEL is a vital aspect of personal and professional growth for teachers and support staff. The culture of a school begins with the adults, and this type of approach can result in an improved culture and happier environment for all.
One way to include adult social and emotional learning in Teacher Appreciation Week is by offering sessions tailored to educators’ needs. These sessions can address topics such as stress management, self-awareness, social awareness, and emotional resilience. They can also delve into techniques that help teachers develop stronger relationships with their students and colleagues, leading to a more supportive and inclusive learning environment.
Another suggestion for Teacher Appreciation Week—and throughout the school year—is to establish a peer recognition program that can help educators connect and build relational trust. Encourage teachers to write notes or share stories about their colleagues, highlighting the ways they have made a positive impact on students or the school community. Increasing positive dialogue and collaboration not only creates a sense of camaraderie but also promotes a growth mindset by showcasing examples of success and perseverance.
Lastly, don’t let Teacher Appreciation Week be the only time of year when you show gratitude to educators. Make it a habit to regularly acknowledge their hard work and dedication. This consistent reinforcement will help build a culture of appreciation, which can ultimately contribute to higher levels of job satisfaction, engagement, and retention.
Teacher Appreciation Week presents a wonderful opportunity to put an intentional focus on valuing the teachers and staff who make such a significant impact on students’ lives. By recognizing their efforts, fostering engagement, and focusing on their social and emotional well-being, you can help create an environment where teachers feel valued and supported, which ultimately benefits the entire school community.
Krista Stippich is the senior product manager for 7 Mindsets,a provider of PreK-12 mindsets-based learning and well-being solutions. Before joining the company, she worked as both a math teacher and school administrator. Stippich earned her M.Ed in education-school improvement from Texas State University.