While school leadership should appreciate teachers all year long, it’s especially important this week – National Teacher Appreciation Week.
Americans from all walks of life agree. In her post, “‘Imagine if we celebrated teachers as much as we celebrate athletes and celebrities,” Washington Post reporter Valerie Strauss posts appreciative Tweets from blogs, educators, historians, and even First Lady Michelle Obama!
The First Lady, @FLOTUS, posted “At a time when more and more jobs require a good education, a teacher’s work couldn’t be more important. #TeacherAppreciationWeek.”
Teachers educate our future workforce, so it’s in our best interest to appreciate them! In “Teacher Engagement is the Key to Student Engagement,” consultant and former British Columbia Superintendent Bruce Beairsto writes:
“The necessary precursor to high levels of student achievement is deep engagement in learning, and the teacher’s own engagement is the key to achieving that. Curriculum counts and technology can help, but it is teachers who inspire students, and enthusiastically engaged teachers do that best.”
Three Strategies for teacher appreciation
So how do we appreciate teachers? To start, engage and motivate them.
In “Three Strategies for Increasing Staff and Teacher Engagement,” Catapult Learning shares ways school leaders can build teacher engagement. They’re strategies that any business leader can use to engage and motivate employees!
1. Build Trusting Relationships. Demonstrate true caring for teachers through listening, ensuring everyone is heard, and taking action. Catapult suggests forming teams of teachers who bring staff concerns to the table, set goals for themselves, and complete progress reports.
“By giving our teachers reasonable control over what they do, we support their need for autonomy and exhibit our commitment to addressing their concerns.”
2. Motivate Teachers Individually. Communicate one-on-one and encourage them to continue striving to meet students’ needs. Pay special attention to first-year teachers, who may find their jobs particularly challenging.
“…When teachers can demonstrate mastery of their own key skills, they are more engaged and focused on increasing student learning as well.”
3. Recognize Teachers’ Value. Ensure teachers’ sense of belonging. Focus on their strengths and give them opportunities to use those strengths. When communicating with teachers, help them connect their accomplishments to the school’s (and students’!) successes.
Top Tips for teacher appreciation
We know it’s already May, but there’s still plenty of time this school year to show how much you appreciate teachers!
Here are six ideas to try and put in your plan for next school year:
- Invite seasoned teachers to coach some of the newer teaching staff.
- Request a few outgoing teachers to serve as greeters and hosts at upcoming social events for parents and staff.
- Ask staff members who give meticulous attention to detail to contribute to projects that require lots of structure and long-range planning.
- Invite employees who enjoy managing details to create study groups or peer coaching projects.
- Request teachers who participate in non-school related activities, such as community theater, to share those experiences with students through a short experiential lesson or unit.
- See if the teachers who conduct powerful classroom discussions or morning meetings would like to teach school-wide lessons.
“By focusing on the strengths of our teachers and staff, we demonstrate that their contributions to the school’s purpose of educating students are highly valued, helping them to re-ignite their passion for teaching and leading to greater engagement as well as personal satisfaction.”
It’s never too late to thank a teacher! Say how much you appreciate him or her today and make it public via #ThankATeacher.
For more great tips and insights into building a vibrant culture of engagement, loyalty and appreciation, be sure to download our free e-book, “The Top 20 Employee Engagement Blogs You Should be Reading”.
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