COVID-19 has turned the world upside down and many leaders are wondering what to do for teacher appreciation week this May 4-8, 2020.

The usual stuff won’t work (like snack carts) so what can we do to spread some love and show appreciation?

There are still plenty of creative ways to demonstrate gratitude. 

Below are some ideas that are easy to implement. At the very least, I hope they inspire some out-of-the-box thinking to do something creative.

Don’t compare this year to past year’s efforts. That is a recipe for failure. Do your best. Be as creative as possible. People will appreciate what you do!

Pick up the phone 

Remember when we used to call each other on the phone? 

This lost art is a gift in our days dominated by communication via video conference, email, and text. 

Thank your staff for specific ways they have contributed and then shift away from work and have a real conversation. Also consider, thanking their partner (if applicable). Many educators are going above and beyond right now. Telling a partner how much your teacher means to the community can go a long way.

Pictures are worth a thousand words

One principal in the mastermind is asking her staff to take pictures of their home, family, pets, or even selfies when they were filled with joy during this crazy time. She is putting them together in a video montage and embedding great music. This will be a wonderful way to capture some of the sweet moments during this challenge.

Donate to charity

If you have a sense of what is important to your teachers, why not make a donation on their behalf to a cause they believe in? This is a great way to say “Thank you” by paying it forward to meaningful organizations doing important work.

Bucket list

I wrote about this activity extensively here. 

The idea is this: Bring your staff together. Share your list first to model. Then give your staff a template to complete. Share the bucket list ideas with each other. 

Not only will your staff learn some new things about their colleagues, but you will also have a list of items that you can take action on that will show how much you care.

Flowers

One thing I’ve loved living in Europe is how common it is to buy flowers at the grocery store. Flowers are a great way to say “Thanks” and brighten someone’s home and day. 

There’s an app for that

Some apps you may consider buying on behalf of your staff:

Local gift cards

Help local small businesses and show appreciation. This is a win-win scenario. 

Staff shout outs

Leaders often think we have to do everything ourselves. Lean into your Culture Team during Teacher Appreciation Week and ask them to plan something amazing. 

What if during the next staff meeting, you ditch the boring logistics and use the time for peers to recognize what they appreciate in their colleagues?

Signs

Many schools are recognizing seniors by sticking signs in their front yards (if they have one) to recognize students in front of the community. You can do this for your staff too.

Play that funky music

What if you drove to your teacher’s houses and played great music from your car? You could dance inside your car and they could dance inside the house. 

What if you had a dance party or karaoke party during your next staff meeting?

Send them food / groceries

Whether it is delivery for dinner or some groceries, everyone needs to eat. This small token of appreciation can go a long way.

Newspapers, website, and social channels

Write an OP-ED in the local newspaper communicating why your teachers are heroes. Take out an ad with the local newspaper to thank teachers for their efforts. 

On your school website and social channels, highlight members of the staff each day and thank them specifically for how they contribute to your school.

Mastermind.

I don’t work with teachers specifically, but my friend, Jeanne Wolz does. Why not sign up some of your teachers for her mastermind? 

Right now educators can’t travel and go to conferences. Even if they could, a mastermind membership is a better investment in their professional growth. 

Why?

A conference comes and goes and there is no one to check that teachers apply what they’ve learned. 

A mastermind is a weekly gathering of educators. They can offer support, share best practices, and hold each other accountable for actually getting better in their craft. Sign up a teacher or two here (if you tell them Better Leaders Better Schools sent you, Jeanne will give you $50 off membership).

Don’t let those PD dollars go to waste! The mastermind is a great way to offer support during this critical time.

And if you are a school leader, you can apply to our community here.

If you are looking for more teacher appreciation ideas that you can use during COVID-19, check out this post or this one.

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