For one week out of the year, you’re served donuts, coffee bars, treats, foods, and special tokens of gratitude. Teacher appreciation week is really nice, but do you feel appreciated the rest of the year?
Maybe you do…
Given the turnover in the profession, it’s likely you experience days or weeks when you don’t feel appreciated.
And yes, it is important!
Many teachers leave the profession prematurely due to feeling unappreciated and unvalued.
How can you change it?A teacher-leader steps out and makes the change that is needed.Click To Tweet
Teacher Appreciation can be Underminded
It’s so easy to feel unappreciated. You’ve probably heard these phrases,
- Teachers get summers off!
- We need to raise test scores!
- Why were you late to lunch?
And you’ve probably thought,
- Yeah, but I work on curriculum, lesson planning, moving rooms, professional development, and more during the summer.
- Yeah, but my 4th graders came to me on a 2nd-grade reading level and now they are on 3.5!
- Yeah, but the class was so engaged…we were 60 seconds late.
You don’t get bonuses, you don’t make commissions, and these comments can leave you feeling unappreciated.
Here are 6 ways to change that!
1. Appreciate Another Teacher
The easiest fix to feeling unappreciated is to appreciate someone else.
I know you work hard and care about your profession…otherwise, you wouldn’t read teaching blogs like this one! So let’s start with the fact that you are valuable!
You will instantly feel teacher appreciation when giving other teachers appreciation.
Look for other teachers around you who also seek to improve and care about the teaching profession. Write them a thank you email, a kind note, or just tell them one thing you appreciate about their work!You will instantly feel appreciated when you appreciate other teachers! Click To Tweet
2. Call Parents
Parents know your impact. They see the growth in their students. Reaching out to them can be great for many reasons.
Call them and discuss the good things. Let them know about the extra mile that you’re doing with a student – and tell them the growth.
Every parent loves to hear about their child’s growth. Parents will let you know how much they appreciate you!
More importantly, you are building valuable relationships that will contribute to student success.
3. Gather Your Own Student Growth Data
After putting your head down and focusing in on students’ needs for a few weeks, it’s easy to lose track of the forest in view of all the trees.
Take a step back and pull your own data report. What fluency records, computer program, common assessments, or test scores do you use frequently?
Put a quick graph or summary of the growth. Find your impact.
Some of the best treasures are buried just under the surface!
Affirm yourself and arm yourself with the knowledge of how much your students are growing!
4. Help Out Another Teacher
Look for ways to serve a teacher you work with and you will quickly create teacher appreciation. Add value to your team and campus, and you will quickly be viewed as a valuable teacher on campus. Here are a few ways:
- Volunteer to tutor the lowest students on your team…make them all “your” students.
- Drop by and say, “Hey, I’m heading to the copy machine, can I run anything for you?”
- Offer to prepare the station work, the test, anything, for next week.
Always be on the lookout for another teacher who needs something – then be the teacher who fills that need!Teacher appreciation is a two-way street.Click To Tweet
5. Have that Difficult Conversation
Go ahead and talk about it. Not in the teacher’s lounge, but with your supervisor.
Ask your administrator about your strengths. Then ask how you can add value to the campus. You might be surprised, the conversation actually isn’t that difficult.
It’s a conversation they don’t have the opportunity to have often. However, leaders love finding and talking about strengths!
Always end with a simple thank you, and a positive comment to show your appreciation – teacher appreciation is a two-way street.
Here’s a great series for school leaders on how to be successful with difficult conversations.
6. Add Value to Your Campus
Each day, look for ways you can add value to the campus.
- What ideas can you offer?
- What ideas have been offered by someone else that you can put your hands and feet to?
- Which students need a mentor?
- What committee can you serve on?
- What community outreach activity could you help with?
- What duties need an extra hand? Volunteer.
The more you give, the more people will value you. Someone will notice.
You will work yourself into appreciation!
No donuts or jeans passes can replicate the level appreciation you will receive by true and honest service. Teacher appreciation is more than just one week – it’s a two-way street that you can drive every day.