Teacher & Staff Appreciation Week – It’s not just for teachers anymore!
It’s that time of year…you know, the time where many of us PTA/PTO moms (or dads… yes, there are some, but not nearly enough!) are talking a lot about Teacher Appreciation Week. Have you or your Parent Teacher Group (PTG) already started putting together creative plans for Teacher Appreciation Week? Maybe you have been searching pinterest by the hour to figure out an exciting new spin on a tried and true theme? Perhaps you are looking for inexpensive gift ideas for your teachers at school? Are you searching high and low for printables that you can use to pull it all together? A lot of work and effort goes into planning this special week for our teachers, doesn’t it? I’m already exhausted from everything else we have done this year and we aren’t even to May yet! Do you feel the same?
We LOVE our Teachers!
Teacher Appreciation Week is a super important project we coordinate each year in my PTG and of course we all love our teachers! They are one hard-working bunch of amazing professionals. But, have you ever wondered, are teachers the only workers at school who deserve a little appreciation?
The main office secretary?
School lunch servers?
The school nurse?
Counselor or Psychologist?
How about all of the amazing paraprofessionals (aka classroom aides)?
Even the school bus drivers?
If you have spent time at any school, you will quickly find out just how much work it takes from a huge team of people to help make a school run successfully, happily, and peacefully. Think of all of those sick kids. Someone has to take care of them or clean up after them (ewww). And imagine how all of that food gets made? These days schools serve not just lunch to most students, but often breakfast too! It is easy to see that schools are made up of many more people than teachers alone! So, I ask…why are staff members not automatically included in our appreciation week already?
Let’s cut ourselves some slack!
Of course there is Administrative Professionals Day, a National Nurses Day, a Crossing Guard Appreciation Day, and more. I don’t know about you, but I am lucky to get dinner on the table most nights. With school runs, PTG responsibilities, after school activities, emergency visits to the vet clinic, automobile fixes, the list goes on and on. It is hard to get everything done. I don’t quite have my act together enough to separately recognize each of the special appreciation days and weeks, what about you?
So, instead of dedicating ourselves to hunting down every recognition day out there and developing a creative plan for each, maybe we could make things a whole lot easier. If I can find an easier, faster, better way to do something, sign me up!
Cue the collective sigh of relief here!
Staff members matter too!
In my PTG, for years we have been automatically including all of the staff at school into the fun we coordinate for “Teacher Appreciation Week.” I know some schools offer a separate week for non-certified staff and then hold an official celebration for just teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week. If that is something that works really well at your school, great! I do worry that holding separate celebrations could hurt feelings or leave certain staff members feeling of lesser importance, but maybe that’s me.
I am reminded here of conversations we had back in the days of my teacher training. A very important message sent to me from many of my professors was this, “Get to know and treat the school secretaries and custodians VERY well. The more you care for them, the more they will care for you.” Let that sink in here….We all just want the same thing, to have someone value us and recognize our contributions as meaningful. I think including ALL staff members into our Appreciation Week celebrations is essential in order to make that happen!
If you haven’t celebrated the staff members at your school in the past, why not start this year?
Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you get started…
Use alternate wording on your theme to make sure it is inclusive to all staff members! If everything says, “Our TEACHERS are the best!” but you are handing this out to custodians and lunch servers, they might not necessarily feel as appreciated if the wording included “staff” in the message as well.
Boost your budget
If your budget has only been planned with teachers in mind, you might need to alter your budget if possible. You could even allocate the funds differently. Instead of providing lunch for or breakfast for teachers all week long and gifts too, you could cut back on one area or another to increase how many people you can serve.
Keep your audience in mind
If you are giving gifts to everyone on your teacher/staff list, a cute note pad that reads “Teachers are rock stars!” may be better received by an actual teacher. Try to think of fun things that would appeal to everyone OR have two separate gifts to share with teachers and staff as appropriate.
Don’t feel as though you have to gift everyone the same thing
I doubt the custodians will feel neglected if teachers receive fun colored paper clips one day during the week and they don’t. Just be sure to include staff members in most of your events!
When in doubt what to do about gifts for a large crowd, why not plan prize drawings throughout the week? You could collect various gift cards to restaurants or other stores in your community and even some adorable teacher supplies. Put them together in pretty gift packages and describe what is included. This allows everyone at school who is interested a chance to win! A retiring teacher may not need a tote of new teacher supplies like a brand new teacher would. Everyone can enter the drawings that most appeal to them. I personally think prize drawings are so much fun and add a lot of extra excitement to the week for everyone!
Be sure to include a special invitation to all staff members if you are hosting a luncheon or other food event. If they aren’t especially invited, staff members may not know that the appreciation treats are for them too! The best way to let them know they are included is to let them know!
A great way to start off the week would be to share a creative note/email alerting all teachers and staff to the fun that is in store for them during the week. You can list off what events may occur each day and that way they know for sure they are included!
Everyone loves to be appreciated!
I know that by taking a few extra steps and being mindful to show appreciation to all of the dedicated professionals who work at your school, you will really please the crowd. There is nothing better than to work in an environment that is thankful for your contributions and let’s you know just how much they care about you! Use this special week to do that for the amazing teachers AND staff at your school and you will feel so glad you did!
Do you have any suggestions on ways you have included all staff members into your Teacher Appreciation Week? I’d love to hear from you!
Thanks so much for checking in and spending some of your valuable time with me!