Unique Ways to Recognize & Motivate Your Teachers & School Staff

Whether for American Education Week in November, Teacher & Staff Appreciation Week in May, or any other time of year, it’s important to show support for the teachers, staff, and volunteers in your district. Their hard work and dedication inspires the future, and a little recognition makes a big difference. A few affordable gifts and American Education Week activities can boost morale all year long.

recognition lapel pins

5 Ways to Put Teachers in the Spotlight!

Show the educators at your school that you know they’re special, and let others learn more about what makes them so! Put them in the spotlight for a week.

  1. Make “Teacher of the Hour” PA announcements. Name a few of the special achievements or contributions of each teacher.
  2. Designate a hallway as a Teacher Hall of Fame. Take a photo of each teacher wearing an educator-themed T-shirt. Then, use the photo to make a colorful poster celebrating that teacher. Include personal tidbits, such as hobbies, favorite books, or mottos, plus special accomplishments.
  3. Hold a “pinning” ceremony at a recognition luncheon or school assembly. Have the principal present each teacher with a recognition lapel pin and words of praise.
  4. At a special buffet lunch, hand out appreciation tumblers and on-the-go-food containers to teachers, and let them fill up their foodware and feast!
  5. Have the principal make a surprise visit to each teacher’s class to give the teacher a useful gift such as a desk planner or caddy.
Show your appreciation to your teachers

3 Ways to Help Students Say “Thanks”

Encourage students to show their appreciation for their teachers with a little help from parents and staff.

  1. Ask an art teacher to have students make thank-you cards for their teacher(s) during class time. Ask the teacher(s) to have students make one for the art teacher, too!
  2. Have lunch aides take class photos during lunch hour or recess and present them to teachers in personalized frames.
  3. Make a short video of each class of students thanking their teacher. Download the video to a USB flash drive key ring and give it to the teacher.

5 Tips for Saluting Your Support Staff

So many staffers contribute to the daily experience of students, parents, and teachers. Show your appreciation for them by organizing a Salute to Support Staff Supper.

  1. Work with parent volunteers to provide the food and drink as well as babysitting if needed.
  2. Put small gifts at each place setting, such as lapel pins with appreciation cards.
  3. Ask teachers to create and perform a skit or song about all the ways support staff help them and their students.
  4. Have a drawing for prizes, such as tote bags and coolers.
  5. Send everyone home with a goody bag filled with low-cost recognition gifts, such as treat packs, lanyards, and school calendar pocket planners.

4 Ways to Value Your Volunteers!

Make sure to give a sincere pat on the back to one of your most important educational resources—volunteers! Include the entire school community in thanking them for their efforts.

  1. Let students write messages or draw pictures in volunteer greeting cards.
  2. Set up a “Thanks a Latté” coffee station for volunteers and give them appreciation coffee mugs to keep.
  3. Send out daily emails that highlight the ways the different volunteer groups help your school or district.
  4. Add a volunteer appreciation page on your website, with a photo of each volunteer.

It’s always the right time to thank and honor those who make our schools a success. Teachers, staff, and volunteers deserve everyone’s encouragement and gratitude. There’s no better way to show it than with heartfelt gifts and setting some time aside to say “you’re appreciated!”