Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Celebrate Your Entire Team During
Staff/Teacher Appreciation Week

Education World columnist Diane Hodges has great ideas for improving school climate all year long. Her free Looking Forward to Monday Morning newsletter is packed with practical ideas for motivating and recognizing your staff. If you were on her mailing list last April, you received the Teacher Appreciation Week ideas below -- and more -- in your e-mailbox. [see a sample newsletter, then sign up to receive this free newsletter on Diane Hodges’ home page]


Teacher Appreciation Week was established in 1985 by the NEA [see National Teacher Day 2011] and National PTA [PTA Teacher Appreciation Week 2011] and takes place annually during the first full week in May.
Many school districts have changed the week to Staff Appreciation Week in an effort to honor teachers as well as all other staff members -- school nurses, custodians, paraprofessionals, and so on -- who play a role in supporting students. Some even designate a different day of the week as Support Professional Day or Bus Driver and Crossing Guard Appreciation Day or Custodial/Maintenance Appreciation Day… Holding all those celebrations in one week promotes team spirit.

One of the most appreciated gifts is to not have to go home after work to make dinner. For the day or the week, give staff members a dinner break. Seek assistance from community and parent volunteers to prepare homemade dinners that staff members can simply heat and eat. Dinner ideas include lasagna, chili, or casseroles. Be sure they are presented in disposable packaging so staff members don’t have to worry about returning bowls and dishes. Be sure to include heating instructions with the item. You could also arrange for pizza delivery or give take-out restaurant coupons for a dinner for the whole family.


Supply the staff lounge with gourmet teas. Put notes on the teas that incorporate the use of the word tea. Some examples include
  • Our staff is Tea-rrific!
  • We appreciate your creativi-tea more than you know
  • Have a break and enjoy the tranquili-tea
  • You generosi-tea toward students is appreciated
  • This is said with all sinceri-tea: Our staff is great!
You could also host an after-school tea party in which you serve tea sandwiches and cookies.


Set a festive, tropical theme for the week. Encourage staff members to wear tropical clothing -- flowered shirts and dresses, straw hats, and so on -- that reflects the theme. Decorate the staff lounge with palm trees, parrots, and tiki lights. Have daily drawings and award the winners with tropical items such as pineapple, flamingo décor, and other fun, inexpensive prizes.
Decorate a cart with fresh fruit and summer beverages such as tropical punch and lemonade. Go to the various classrooms and serve staff members a tropical treat.
Host a festive gathering that continues the theme. Dress up the lounge with summer décor and give leis to staff members as they enter. Serve tropical fruit smoothies to everyone. Be sure to put a little umbrella in the glass!


Organize a week that’s filled with myriad special scents. Each day, give staff gifts such as candles, lotions, or bath salts. Ask a local Bath and Body Works, The Body Shop, or spa top have one of their employees visit the school to host a scent-sational foot massage event. Have hot, homemade bread waiting for the staff members when they arrive in the morning. Be sure to have peanut butter, jams, jellies, and butter (make it real butter!) available. Have fresh, hot just-baked scent-sational (or is it sin-sational?) chocolate chip cookies delivered for an afternoon treat. Serve popcorn -- another favorite aromatherapy -- in the lounge.


Visit Diane’s web site to sign up for her free monthly newsletter or to learn about workshops she offers. You can order her books there too, including Looking Forward to Monday Morning and Season It With Fun: A Year of Recognition, Fun and

Diane Hodges on EducationWorld
Award-winning educator, highly acclaimed speaker, and bestselling author Dr. Diane Hodges' weekly Looking Forward to Monday Morning columns present a wealth of ideas administrators can use to drive staff members happy!


Teacher Appreciation Week Ideas from Education World
Education World's "Principal Files" principals share 65 things they have done to show their appreciation. Plus Teacher Appreciation Week cards and letters and more ideas. Also


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