We often use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to refer to students’ needs for safety and love, but teachers need to be seen and feel a sense of belonging just as much as their students do. Positive school culture starts with strong principal-teacher relationships. Nurture trust and mutual respect on a daily basis, with these easy ideas to show teachers you care.
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Take inventory of their favorites.
Invite your teachers to fill out a quick survey of their favorite hot beverage, sweet treat, etc. Then surprise them one day with a morning latte or afternoon Snickers.
Write a note of gratitude.
Don’t underestimate the power of the handwritten note. If you see a teacher doing something awesome, write it down in a thank-you card and leave it in their mailbox. The more specific, the better! Check out some of our favorite thank you notes for teachers here.
Take over their supervision duty.
What teachers want most is the gift of time. An easy way to do that is to release them from lunch, recess, study hall, or bus duty every once in a while.
Give a little gift.
When a teacher goes above and beyond (think: filling in for a sick teacher or organizing a schoolwide event), recognize them with a Starbucks gift card or a coupon for an hour of class coverage. (We’ve got more awesome gift ideas for teachers right here.)
Drop by and catch them being great.
Don’t let formal observations be the only time you’re in your teachers’ classrooms. Swing by, look for something positive, and then leave them a sticky note on their desk telling them what you saw. Here are some more tips for conducting observations.
Relieve them of a chore.
Mundane tasks eat up teachers’ planning time. Take five minutes and make copies, sharpen pencils, deliver materials from the office, or return the library cart for one teacher every day.
Provide them with supplies.
Many teachers pay for classroom items out of their own pockets. Leave some room in your budget, ask teachers what they need, and buy a few of those items. Or just give them a gift card. Check out our lists of favorite supplies from Amazon and IKEA.
Let them hear you brag about them.
Sometimes public praise is the best kind. Did a teacher pull off an amazing classroom project? Or finish their master’s degree? Highlight them in a newsletter or at a staff meeting.
Do you have a great idea for showing teachers you care? Come share in our Principal Life Facebook group.
Also, check out 5 Emails You Can Send to Support Schoolwide SEL.