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10 Affordable Ways to Show Appreciation for a Fellow Teacher

Appreciation that comes from the heart is just as impactful (if not more so) as tokens that are store bought.

By Lani Aquino

An amazing group of colleagues can make all the difference in a teacher’s career, mindset, and overall happiness. When there are fellow teachers and support staff to turn to for a smile, a fresh perspective, an extra set of hands, a shoulder, a sounding board, etc., teachers feel a connection to the bigger learning community that exists beyond their classroom walls. Whether a teacher is completing year one or year forty-one in the classroom, he likely has a story or two or two hundred to tell about how an amazing colleague has made a difference in his career.

There’s no just right time of year to show appreciation for the kind acts and gestures that colleagues often bestow. Anytime is the right time to let someone know they have made a difference. If expressing thanks to someone is one the radar, it is definitely something that should be acted upon. These 10 affordable ways to do so will positively impact the recipient’s day without negatively impacting the giver’s budget.

  1. A Note- Something short and from the heart will always be well received. Taking the time to write out thanks and express how someone else made a positive difference is a great boost for both parties. Bonus points for handwritten, but an email also suffices.
  2. Home-Cooked Meal- For teachers that are into meal prep, adding an extra meal to the prep and sharing it with a colleague is a great way to show that person he/she is appreciated. Whether it’s a single serving to be enjoyed as a lunch or a family dinner to take home. This is a very considerate gesture.
  3. Make Copies- Even though technology has made some headway in the paperless direction, there are still many copies that get made. Popping in to check if there are any copies that can be run or making extra sets of copies that will be needed are thoughtful ways to express thanks.
  4. Pitch In- That extra set of hands that came to your rescue could probably stand to have the favor returned. Make it a point to help out with switching out bulletin boards, rearranging seating, swapping out book/resources, joining a committee, etc.
  5. Share Resources- Teachers spend a lot of dollars on resources, and there are a lot of additional dollars that they would probably like to spend. Sharing resources to spread the wealth is a great way to accomplish this.
  6. Cover Duty- All teachers know that time is precious, so giving up some time to give some extra time to a colleague holds quite the wow factor.
  7. Snag Treats- Sometimes tasty treats make their way into the staff lounge or teacher work area. Sometimes these treats are limited in quantity. Snagging one for a colleague that may miss the display or grabbing someone’s favorite flavor to ensure it can be enjoyed will definitely score some appreciation points!
  8. Need Anything?- Even just checking in with a colleague to see if he/she needs something as you head to the copy room, office, book room, etc. is a great way to be considerate and show her she’s appreciated.
  9. Personalized Award- It doesn’t have to be a construction paper crown (Although, that would be cool!), but turning one of those award sheets so often used for students into one for a stand-out colleague will surely bring a smile. An award for a Planning Collaborator, Lesson Plan Saver, Meltdown Calmer, etc. will definitely bring a smile.
  10. Nomination- Most buildings and districts have different awards to recognize staff for positively contributing to a learning community. Taking the time to nominate a colleague for such an award is an excellent way to showcase one’s appreciation. Even if the nominee is not the award recipient, they are often notified of the consideration.

While a lavish gift may be befitting of the intent behind the appreciation, there are many affordable ways to bestow thanks to a colleague. One commodity that is often lacking in a teacher’s day is time, so taking the time to do something special for another speaks volumes. These 10 options for showing appreciation are a perfect place to start.

If you enjoyed the thoughts and ideas shared here, check out the trainings and tools (for teachers and for families) that we offer.


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