Tales from the classroom: teacher appreciation week

Recently, it was Teacher Appreciation Week (I know I’m late… but y’know what? whatever, ha) and my kids wanted to show their appreciation to all of the staff in school in some way. At the minute, we can’t cross bubbles and we’re still being quite strict on our COVID rules in school, so we had to get creative. We came up with a load of ideas, but some of them just weren’t feasible (be it lack of resources, lack of time, lack of space… whatever… my kids came up with some WILD ideas).

They eventually decided they wanted to create cards and then write a message to all of the staff because “well, in this school everyone is a teacher, regardless of your job” (which I thought was the most lovely sentiment from one of my kids). I think it’s really important that our kids see that it takes a whole team to make a school work and not just the teacher (and TA or whatever staff you have in their classroom) that is teaching them that academic year.

We took an afternoon of designing cards, looking at cards and using it as a bit of the DT process without it being a full on DT project. We talked about the things that teachers like… and I got some hilarious answers, including:
– coffee/tea;
– complaining about children (this was a joke answer);
– chocolate;
– cake;
– weekends;
– various alcoholic beverages;
– biscuits;
– peace and quiet;
– coming into work and teaching.

Once they’d decided on what they wanted their cards to look like, I gave them out bits of card, pens, pencils and some paper to draw on and told them to just create something that they think would make a member of staff smile… and I am so so proud of the results! (These are just a few examples!)

I didn’t name the cards; we just left them blank. We did some shared thinking and writing to come up with the message inside and they incorporated our school motto in too (without any prompting from me, which really impressed me!). Once they were all done, I popped them away ready to be quarantined (before I gave them out). I explained to the kids that they’d need to be quarantined, but that I’d give them out on Friday when we have our whole staff briefing…

*wait 2 days to quarantine the cards*

I’d been out and bought some little Crunchies to give to the staff along with their cards and luckily, I got everything put out BEFORE the staff meeting (and no-one except the caretaker saw me do it so it remained a surprise). Everyone was a bit confused coming into the meeting, but they opened their cards and y’know what? Put a massive smile on their faces. We even got a few messages to say thank you – I did eventually have to reveal that it was us!

***

Now I know this isn’t something that is life changing and I know that it’s not something that we can do often, but I just wanted to share it because it came from my kids. I facilitated it and I made it happen, but it was very much an idea that came from them. I am a big big proponent of staff wellbeing and it is something that I have a passion for.

I’d love to know how staff wellbeing is catered for and respected in your schools. This is just a tiny idea and I realise that there are more deeper rooted problems than a bar of chocolate and a card can deal with… but please shout your ideas at me!

S x

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