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Creative Ways to Celebrate Your Staff

Creative Ways to Celebrate Your Staff

It’s a costly proposition to provide gifts for 100-plus members of staff during the holidays or Teacher Appreciation Week, no matter how small the item. Besides, people tend not to need material items as much they need to feel noticed and valued. That’s where some creativity can really pay off. Here are some original ideas that won’t break your budget.

Education for teachers

Teachers are excellent at their jobs, but they may be in need of some help on topics outside of the scope of education, like personal finance, stress management, or nutrition. At the next gathering, bring in an expert that can help your teachers learn something themselves. Be careful not to provide an outlet for a sales pitch, though.

Gift cards for services

When polled, teachers often respond that the commodity they wish they had more of is time. You can’t make their students angels, and you probably can’t get around contractual obligations, but you can find cheap ways to give them more free time during their off hours by providing gift cards to services they need, like laundry from the local dry cleaners or a car wash from the local detail shop. The vendors should be able to give you a good rate in return for the added exposure of having 100-plus teachers come through their doors and a possible shout-out in your school newsletter or message board.

Chair massages

Hour-long massages at the salon would break the annual budget, but chair massages are nearly as effective and are much cheaper. Consider bringing in students from a local massage school rather than professionals, as you can get the same service for pennies on the dollar. You’re providing a service for your teachers and furthering the educations of trade students in the process.

Group activities

Teachers often don’t have time to gather together without schoolwork looming over them. Take the next in-service day or happy hour, and turn it into a fun group activity. Bowling is always popular, but laser tag, miniature golf, and paint-your-own-pottery outings are also possible. It’s not only teacher appreciation—it’s team building.

Choice in in-service day topics

Sometimes, it’s not possible to take everyone out for an activity during an in-service day. If you have to stay on campus and have an educational purpose to the day, let teachers create their own in-service topics. For example, teachers always want to find out about the latest technology, and there is usually an early adopter among the staff. Simply float a poll about possible in-service topics (with a write-in option) before the day via email or an online survey. The idea that wins will be covered not by you or a district coach, but by the teachers themselves. Everyone learns, and everyone bonds.

At Edmentum, we value the hard work that teachers and administrators put into every school year. Be sure to enter our Holiday Giveaway, where we’re rewarding two lucky educators with a $500 Target gift card!

This post was originally published December 2018 and has been updated.