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How to Still Make Teacher Appreciation Special, Virtually

Teachers are working harder than ever—here’s how to recognize that!

virtual teacher appreciation

This May, Teacher Appreciation Week is definitely going to look a little different. There won’t be any snack carts or staff luncheons, but with a little creativity, you can still make those hard-working teachers feel special. Welcome to virtual teacher appreciation:

Yard signs

We love the idea of posting signs in the yards of your staff. A lot of people are doing them for graduates, so why not teachers? Try something like, “A rock star teacher lives here!” or “I’m kind of a big deal at [SCHOOL NAME].” This is also a great way to support local businesses.

Online games

During Teacher Appreciation Week, we try to up the fun factor with trivia and games. You still can—you just have to take it online. Class Team Building is offering a weeklong game show for $45. It includes daily challenges like this: “Get anyone in this school to respond ‘LOL’ to one of your texts, but you can’t tell them beforehand that is the response you are looking for.”

Gift cards

There are plenty of gift cards you can send via email, including teacher favorites like Target and Starbucks (they currently have three fun teacher designs). This is also a good time to support local restaurants that are hurting and grab gift cards to your staff’s favorite places for takeout.  

Quarantine survival kits

How about baskets you drop off at doorsteps filled with all kinds of isolation goodies? We’re thinking a fabric mask, hand sanitizer (if you can get it), snacks, and drinks. Add an inspirational book, adult coloring book and markers, or a puzzle. You could even throw a roll of TP in there for a laugh!

Personalized items

If you’re looking for a more traditional gift, try personalized notepads like this one from Shutterly. You can include a handwritten thank-you note on the first page. We also like the idea of custom t-shirts and cloth screen cleaners. Consider setting up an online “store” and letting teachers choose their gift.

Drive-thru or delivery meal

Many schools have set up drive-thrus to keep kids fed during school closures. A similar set-up would work to distribute a meal (or even just warm cookies!) for your teachers. Or you could deliver right to their doors. Either way, consider using a local establishment to cater your event.

Virtual raffle

Looking to go big? If you want to go in for some bigger prizes (think: a $100 grocery store gift card or a personal laminator), you can use an app like Random Picker to draw your winners. Then do the announcement over a video-conferencing app like Zoom.

Teacher’s lounge makeover

If it’s in the budget (or you want to pool what you would have spent on teachers individually), you can plan something really great for when teachers return to school: an upgraded teacher’s lounge. You might consider new furniture or decor, invest in an espresso machine, or stock the pantry and shelves with snacks and personal items.

Involve students and parents

Heartfelt messages are probably the most important part of teacher appreciation. Google Docs and Padlet are nice ways to work collaboratively on a project with kids and parents, or just solicit ideas that you can then turn into your own presentation. 

What ideas do you have for virtual teacher appreciation? Come share in our Principal Life Facebook group. 

Plus,  Simple But Effective Ways School Leaders Can Show Teachers They Care Every Day.

How to Still Make Teacher Appreciation Special, Virtually

Posted by Kimmie Fink

Kimmie is an editor at WeAreTeachers. She has 13 years of classroom teaching experience and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction.

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