You might be wondering why I am writing an article about teacher and school appreciation days when a new school year has just begun. The reason is because a school’s faculty and staff works hard from the first day of school to the last day, and then some. They are dedicated to changing students’ lives and helping them to become the best version of themselves. Their commitment shouldn’t be remembered only during holidays or Teacher Appreciation week; it should be remembered all year long.
When it comes to thanking those who have made a difference in your child’s education, most of the time, parents only think about the teachers, administrators, and guidance counselors at school. However, it takes everyone at a school to “keep the show going.” Some faculty and staff members go unnoticed when it comes to school appreciation. Don’t know whom you should thank or exactly how to? Below is a list of faculty and staff members and fun ways to acknowledge them, that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Don’t feel as if you have to include everyone on the list. Choose one or two and make their day special. Rotate the individuals throughout the year.
Faculty and Staff Members:
- Administrators, such as the principal, vice-principals, instructional facilitator, and testing coordinator.
- Teachers, teachers’ aides, and student teachers.
- Office workers, such as secretaries and registrars.
- Guidance counselors.
- School nurses.
- Cafeteria employees, including the cafeteria manager, cooks, and servers.
- School custodians.
- Bus drivers.
- Crossing guards.
- Librarian and media center staff.
- School social workers.
- Coaches and referees for the sports teams.
- School resource officers.
- Everyone loves food! Drop off a breakfast of muffins, bagels, and fruit in the middle of the school year. Leave it in the teacher workroom for everyone to enjoy. It doesn’t have to be only breakfast. You can also bring in a variety of pick-up snacks or lunch items. Another option is to host an ice cream bar after school or at the beginning of a staff meeting.
- Bring in tissues, hand sanitizer, or other first aid supplies to teachers and nurses during the second semester. From my experience, by the time late April hits, tissues are now in the form of a toilet paper roll.
- A simple handwritten note from your family or student(s), expressing their gratitude for the school employee’s service. There is power in words. Sometimes a letter from a student to the crossing guard can make a difference. Another option includes sending a note to a teacher who was “caught” caring and going above and beyond.
- Become a volunteer at the school. This way, you’ll be in the know on what you can do to help. It is important to not let this opportunity overwhelm you. Sometimes parents think volunteering at their child’s school means lots of time and effort. That isn’t so. Volunteering for as much time as you are able to give still makes a difference. Ways to contribute include creating copies of assignments, needed paperwork, etc. Also, you can assist in the office, answering phone calls, shelving books in the media center, or helping set up sports practice.
- Randomly deliver fresh flowers, boxes of candy, or a surprise gift card. A five-dollar gift card is very much enjoyed.
- Splurge on a monogrammed or personalized item for the staff or faculty member. Teachers love “From the desk of…” notepads or sticky notes.
- Help repaint the inside of the building. You may notice the teacher’s lounge is looking a little old or the bathrooms need a fun mural. Also, spruce up the grounds outside. Assist in pulling weeds, adding mulch to different areas, or cleaning up the playground, fields, or track.
The seven ideas are a sampling of the many ways to recognize staff and faculty members. Be creative with your gifts and keep in mind, you don’t have to spend a fortune. An act of gratitude, no matter how big or small, will mean a great deal and go a long way.