4 ways school leaders can make Teacher Appreciation Week special

Robin Munsell is a VP of Professional Learning at IXL with 13 years of experience in public education as both an educator and school leader.

We at IXL work every day to support and celebrate teachers. And, there’s no better time to celebrate than Teacher Appreciation Week!

This year for Teacher Appreciation Week (May 8 – May 12), make it special by planning small ways to thank your staff each day. Here are some of our top tips for planning a fun week that raises morale and has your teachers feeling the love they deserve!

1. Be inclusive

While it may be Teacher Appreciation Week, it’s always a good idea to include all the hard-working members of your staff! 

Acknowledging the dedication of the entire community that makes your school successful is a great way to improve morale. It could be something small like changing the name to “Staff and Teacher Appreciation Week” and including staff in special activities. Or something bigger, like dedicating an entire day to celebrating your support staff. 

2. Involve parents and students

As a principal, I worked closely with my leadership class and PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) to coordinate events throughout the week. When you combine your resources, you can create an even more memorable week of celebrations for everyone involved. Here are some ideas to involve your entire school community:

  • Kick off the week with a staff breakfast sponsored by the students’ association.
  • Have students create thank you cards to hand out and decorations to hang up around the school.
  • Plan special activities and shoutouts for staff throughout the week with your admin team.
  • End the week with a lunch sponsored by the parent association!

3. Create a theme for the week

Everybody loves a theme! Plus, it provides a creative starting point to generate ideas for your activities. To get more people involved, you can brainstorm a list with your student council or your parent association and see who can come up with the most engaging theme. If you’re feeling stuck, Pinterest is another great place to start getting some inspiration! 

Here is one of my all-time favorite themes from my time as a school leader:

You’re SCENTsational!

For this theme we focused on things that smelled good. Each day when staff came into the staff room there was a new delicious scent wafting in! We kicked off the week with a cinnamon roll breakfast. The next day there was a popcorn bar with different toppings. On another day, teachers got to pick their favorite scented antibacterial hand gel from Bath and Body Works. 

Whatever theme you choose, it’s sure to delight your staff and create lasting memories!

4. Utilize community resources

Ask your community to pitch in for the celebrations! Many businesses are excited by the opportunity to support local schools and their staff. Ask local businesses to help you host events, provide free services, or offer discounts! 

One idea that was always a staff favorite was having a masseuse come to campus! During prep periods or lunch, staff could schedule a 15 minute chair massage to unwind. As a school leader, you can pitch in by offering to cover some classes so that all staff members can partake in this relaxing gift. 

Above all, take this week to spoil your staffthey deserve it! Remember that no matter what you plan, the thought and effort put in is what matters the most!