"Recognizing Teachers!" written with a picture of an office that have party decor

Recognizing Teachers

In Recognition and Engagement by Lori McKnight

Recognizing Teachers

5 fun, simple and meaningful ways to show thanks

As the school year comes to a close, many parents are looking for ways to recognize the special people who devote hours each day to improving children’s lives – their teachers.

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in Teacher Recognition Week at our children’s school. It was so easy to organize and execute I thought I’d share the ideas with you as they are also awesome ways to add some fun to your workplace.

The themed events below could be organized to celebrate a company anniversary, as Spirit Days or to add merriment during the holidays. Even if you take just one idea back to your child’s school or workplace, your teachers/employees will feel great and appreciate the time and effort you took to recognize them.

5 Recognition Ideas

Mocktail Summer Party – create a few fun mocktails for the teachers to enjoy throughout the day alongside appetizers and finger foods.

Let’s Get Baked – bake up some homemade favourite cookies, loaves and cakes or ask for donations from local bakeries.

A Loonie Lunch – Prepare quiches, casseroles, salads etc. Parents donated a loonie (the Canadian equivalent of a dollar) for each teacher, coach, or extracurricular teaching lead their children had.
Staff participated by purchasing ballots for a dollar (loonie) each. Half the proceeds went to the winner, the other half to the winning teacher’s charity of choice. It’s a Win-Win for everyone and was a HUGE hit.

Iced Dream – Fill the staff freezer with ice cream bars, popsicles, ice cream and toppings for a sundae shop (ideally timed for mid-afternoon when energy levels lag).

Candy Crazy – Bring in all the fun childhood favourites….gummy worms, Dips, Pop Rocks, jellybeans, packages of gum, etc. We left bags so teachers could enjoy it later or take treats home for their kids.

How to Make it Personal

Along with the candy, we created individual bags filled with chocolates and a personalized, handwritten message for each staff member thanking him/her for their service and providing specific comments on how each person was unique and made a difference in our children’s lives. The teachers were truly touched by this gesture.

Karen Dockrill, the parent organizer of this school event talks about recognition and loyalty so eloquently:

a smiling woman quoteThe best and most effective recognition plans come from a place of sincerity, draw on personal connection and demonstrate a little sacrifice.
The beauty of this concept is that it can be executed simply (cards of thanks attached to chocolate grab bags) or ramped up tactically (a full staff luncheon). The teachers knew that we had been thoughtful and gone out of our way. That’s the love and caring that completes the perfect recognition plan. Don’t just talk about how great someone is. Show them what he/she means to you! quote

We love this quotation by Maya Angelou and posted it on the refrigerator door so staff saw it every time they opened the fridge.

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.


Who knew Maya Angelou’s words would find such a home?

May we all remember how our everyday actions can and do impact how we make others feel. That’s what recognition is all about.

Want to recognize your people more? CSI STARS has over 30 years of experience inspiring managers to recognize their people – easily, meaningfully and more often. Request an appointment with one of our recognition experts today!

Author: Laura Barker

Laura Barker
Laura Barker handles CSISTARS program implementations. With over 20 years of corporate HR experience she’s thrilled to share her knowledge from the other side of the table – designing tailored recognition, wellness, health and safety programs for our clients that truly make a difference