Show Teachers Appreciation Every Week with 6 Ideas | Gale Blog: Library & Educator News | K12, Academic & Public (2024)

| By Gale Staff |

It can be particularly tough to be an educator between winter and spring break. Students are restless, the days are still bitterly cold, and there are far too few hours of sunshine, leaving everyone with a shortage of vitamin D and in serious need of some positive vibes.

Teachers set the tone in their classrooms. No matter how hard they try to keep things upbeat, they’re also real human beings who can get bogged down with a third-quarter slump. What’s an admin to do to pep everyone back up until springtime?

Instead of asking your educators to plan something fun to bring the kids’ spirits up—after all, that just shifts the burden onto them while they’re trying to prepare for standardized testing—send some uplifting ripples through the school by showing them some love in the months leading up to Teacher Appreciation Week, which is May 6–10, 2024.

Create a Shout-Out Board

One of the most effective ways to keep people engaged in their work is by providing meaningful feedback. Still, it can feel impossible to find time to sit down with every teacher when you’re juggling your own overburdened calendar.

Give students, parents, and staff a space to offer kudos to extraordinary educators by setting up a large, colorful bulletin board somewhere that’s impossible to miss. Supply slips of paper, multi-colored pens, stickers, and pushpins on a table underneath the board so folks can hang up notes about the awesome things they’ve seen teachers doing—from nailing an effective lesson plan to taking extra time to tutor after school.

Set aside a few minutes in every staff meeting to share some of the highlights and give the recipients their shoutouts to keep for the next time they need a little pick-me-up. This small sign of appreciation not only reminds teachers of all the little things they do that matter but also cultivates a more celebratory, supportive school culture.

Curate a Box of Subject-Specific Supplies

A report from Adopt a Classroom found that educators “spent an average of $860 out-of-pocket on classroom supplies during the 2022–2023 school year . . . [and that] teacher out-of-pocket spending has increased 44% since 2015.” It’s hard to imagine what classrooms would look like without the extra resources that teachers pour into making them warm, welcoming learning spaces, but that doesn’t negate the fact that it’s one of the few professions that requires spending around 2% of their starting salary on the items they need to do their jobs successfully.

School budgets are already tight, but if there’s any wiggle room, it’s worth divvying that money up to create custom-tailored boxes of supplies catered to each subject—new calculators for math teachers, a classroom library resupply for ELA, restocked lab cabinets for science, and pencils for all!

If you have an active, engaged PTA, you should also consider partnering with them to help you organize supply drives and fundraisers that avoid dipping into the school budget. Many parents would be happy to contribute to crowdfunding efforts that outfit their child’s classroom with everything they need to make learning fun and productive.

Roll Out the Treat Trolley

If you want to show your teachers you care, it doesn’t get much better than a steamy cup of caffeinated goodness and a tasty treat. But with so little time between classes, it’s almost impossible to refresh a room-temperature cup of joe with more of the good stuff.

Why not bring the goodies to the classroom by hosting a monthly treats trolley stocked with delicious delights and hot drinks? Deck out a cart with pastries, fresh fruit, pre-packaged trail mix, tea bags, creamer, sugar, insulated hot water thermoses, and any other fun refreshments you can round up. Wheel it to each teacher’s door in the transition time between classes so they can select their goodies of choice.

It’s also an opportunity for local businesses to get free publicity and show their support for schools. Contact local bakeries, donut shops, cafes, and tea stores to see if they’d be willing to donate to the cause in exchange for a tagged social media shoutout. You might be surprised by their outpouring of nibbles to treat your teachers.

Pass Out Duty Coverage Coupons

Teachers work, on average, 53 hours a week, but only 30-32 hours are spent engaged in active teaching duties during class time. The rest of their workweek consists of endless meetings, grading, after-hours planning, and, of course, fulfilling their assigned duty requirements.

With “Get Your Duty Covered” coupons, you can give your teachers back precious time to get things done that don’t involve redirecting mischievous students from throwing mashed potatoes in the cafeteria or breaking up scuffles during intense kickball games at recess.

Each quarter, give teachers a pass they can cash in for an administrator or even parent volunteers to cover a duty of their choice. It will require some level of scheduling—a public, digital calendar would be helpful—but well worth the effort because it’s a practical, tangible way to recognize the value of a teacher’s time and the non-teaching responsibilities they manage.

Promote an Open-Door Policy for Feedback and Ideas

Often, the best thing you can give teachers is the knowledge that you trust their judgment, recognize their concerns, and are willing to take the necessary measures to support them in their tireless, selfless work. Unfortunately, teachers may not always feel comfortable sharing their insights because they don’t want to add more to their admins’ plates or seem like they’re not being team players.

You can encourage them to share their insights by breaking down some of the barriers of formality and organizing quarterly feedback forums, in which teachers who share a common plan time can meet with you in a group setting, have a few snacks and a cup of coffee, and share their thoughts in a receptive, safe environment.

The goal here is not to defend yourself or justify your actions but to forge genuine connections and kindle the spirit of collaborative problem-solving. You want to ensure that every educator you work with knows you’re willing to take action or even just lend an ear when needed.

Give Them the Gift of Gale In Context

The best gifts you can give your teachers are more time and less stress—and that’s exactly what the suite provides.

Gale In Context: For Educators is a comprehensive instructional tool that equips classrooms with customized content and a streamlined, collaborative learning environment that eliminates the seemingly endless hunt for teacher-trusted, expert-vetted resources.

With a subscription to Gale In Context: For Educators, teachers can access more than 1,400 standards-aligned ELA, social studies, science, and life skills lesson plans that integrate with your district’s current learning management system. Each lesson plan includes three to five assessment questions and text/voice translations into more than 50 languages, so teachers can be even more effective at reaching every student while saving precious time and ensuring instructional outcomes.

Pair Gale In Context: For Educators with our other databases, including Gale In Context: Elementary, Gale In Context: High School, Gale In Context: Literature, Gale In Context: World History, and nine other topic-specific digital resources that empower educators and equip students with the tools they need to learn in a digital environment. Our learning portals are frequently updated to keep the content fresh and feature diverse voices to foster a more inclusive classroom.

Gale In Context is dedicated to meeting the needs of diverse learners while supporting teachers in creating engaged, inclusive classrooms, and we’d love to share how we can do that in your school. Fill out this form to contact a local representative!

Show Teachers Appreciation Every Week with 6 Ideas | Gale Blog: Library & Educator News | K12, Academic & Public (2024)

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