Acknowledge Colleagues During Teacher Appreciation Week: A Simple Way to Spread the Love

April 22, 2016

Even better than gifts for teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week is the simple recognition of their hard work and efforts. You can spread the love amongst your colleagues and school staff members by encouraging students to write thank you notes. Most of my teaching career was spent in a district where "thank you" was rarely heard, words infrequently uttered by students, their parents, or even our own administration. There were no gifts at Christmas or at the end of the year, and I don't think I even knew there was such a thing as Teacher Appreciation Week.

So you can imagine my surprise during my third year of teaching when I found a handful of notes from students in my mailbox. The notes, some short one-liners, some longer, expressed gratitude for having me as a teacher. Some of the notes simply said "thank you," but others were more specific: "you are always happy and smiling" and "you push me to do better and never make me feel like a failure."

The writing of these notes was a simple act, yet it meant so much to me. The notes were a powerful reminder of the impact even the slightest bit of acknowledgement can have on us. Just like students, teachers (and everyone really) need to hear "thank you" and know that someone has noticed their efforts, their hard work.
Even better than gifts for teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week is the simple recognition of their hard work and efforts. You can spread the love amongst your colleagues and school staff members by encouraging students to write thank you notes.

Later I found out that the notes had been delivered by our science teacher. Each year during Teacher Appreciation Week, she asked students to write notes thanking staff members (other than her). Students could choose to include their name on the notes or remain anonymous.

I loved the idea and carried it with me to each school I've taught at since, encouraging students to thank not just their teachers, but all staff members at school: secretaries, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, recess monitors, the janitorial staff, etc. I try to be as secretive as possible when delivering the notes, whether it is to teachers' mailboxes or classrooms, as part of the joy for me is hearing about teachers' reactions to the notes they receive.

If you would like to do this with your own students for Teacher Appreciation week or any other time of year, you can use index cards, have your students make cards, or find thank you note templates here.

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