While we love teacher appreciation week each year (and hope your building enjoyed it!), it isn’t just a week-long practice. Whether it is walking through the building or sitting in on classes, as administrators, every day you see the true impact of your educators’ craft and commitment to the students they serve. You witness the moments of hope and joy that keep them engaged, and you also see the challenges they face in today’s complex educational landscape.
Tips to make every caring adult who helps keep your school running feel appreciated all year long:
Take at least one new initiative, curriculum, committee off educators’ plates for the fall. Give them the summer to restore, not plan for something new.
Marry free time off with paired down workload. (Don’t just cancel the faculty meeting, or give your teachers a day off – take something off their plates so they can actually get caught up).
Collateral damage of our students relearning how “to do” school is that our classrooms are more cluttered than ever. Give them designated time during the school day to de-clutter their rooms/work spaces.
Provide teachers with training on how to deescalate other adults (parents, colleagues, partners, etc.) so they feel confident and empowered. Decisively and firmly handle cranky parents and community members, don’t ask teachers to be the buffer.
Some teachers are struggling with classroom management post-pandemic. Find your strongest classroom managers in the building and give folx release time to observe them, take notes and debrief.
Many students only had access to digital clocks at home and have forgotten how to tell time on an analog clock. This negatively impacts everything from transitions to classroom management. Give teachers designated time to re-teach telling time. (And ask the school engineer to climb the ladder and reset the analog clocks in each classroom that are incorrect).
Feed Their Bodies, Mind & Spirits with an Emotionally Supportive Environment
Remove any signs on the faculty lounge that say “teachers only,” or suggest that only certified staff are welcome. Every adult in the building teaches students how to be in the world and deserves a welcoming space to relax.
Keep your faculty lounge stocked with healthy snacks, fresh fruit, coffee and tea. Give the space a fresh coat of paint and add some good lighting. Make it a happy place to gather.
Plan outdoor cookouts for your staff and make them kid-friendly so that teachers don’t need to get childcare.
Provide hot lunch for your teachers and staff once a week on Tuesday or Wednesday. (Midweek is ideal, so if they forget and pack a lunch they can still eat it the next day).
Instead of school swag, raffle off items that save teachers time at home like grocery or meal delivery, housecleaning services and laundry pick-up/drop off.
Provide teachers with confidential counseling and tele-health services.