In my congregation, the end of school year is something that we always look forward to because we know it is that time of the year that, in a collective effort, we get to show our teachers and mentors how much we appreciate them for the amazing work they do! It is a great and fun event that enables the teachers to feel valued while giving students an opportunity to share their faith.
I remembered the very first time we held this event in our local, I saw how overwhelmed and touched our guests were and how it made the students and parents beam with happiness and pride. Before the event, most teachers and guests didn’t know about the Church Of Christ, but afterwards, they come to realise that the Church not just nurtures the faith of its young members but it also helps them to get involved actively in the community through charitable works. They find this admirable.
Each year we try to come up with something better than what we did the previous one because there’s always room for improvement, right? It’s also good a way to be creative and keep everyone interested.
On this note, I have put together my top 10 tips to organise a Teacher Appreciation Day (TAD) event. Whether it is your first time or not, I hope you will find them helpful.
1.Don’t limit your invitation to just your own teacher – Also invite your Headteacher (or Principal), Substitute teachers, mentors, childminders. The event is for them after all! Let them know they can take others along too like their family and friends. It’s nice for the teachers to have someone there to see them get the appreciation they deserve for the amazing work they do! Most importantly, more people will know about the Church Of Christ.
2. Think carefully of the souvenir for your guests – Is it something useful? Will it make them remember this special event? Some ideas are Mason jars filled with goodies, No.1 Teacher TAD badges, School Essentials pack. You also don’t even have to spend money to come up with a great souvenir. An example is when we asked students to write nice messages about their teachers in an A4 paper and sketch a picture of them. We not only displayed these artworks in art gallery but we turned them into small bookmarks which were given to them as souvenirs! Teachers absolutely loved them!
3. Have a light and fun program – if you are doing it after school, think that the teachers and students have had a long day and I would say limit the performances to no longer than five numbers. This way you can have time for short games, brain teasers or for them to watch videos made for them; Include an ice-breaker to set the mood.
4. Create an interactive environment – have short games that enable teachers and students to work as a team. It’s great to see them interacting outside school in a challenging yet fun way.
- Keep refreshments light – you want them to spend more time learning about you, what you do outside school, about the Church and to not use up their time trying to finish a heavy meal
- Have a theme – let it reflect all the way from the invites down to your souvenirs! Some examples are what to be when you grow up, a fun fair them with game booths (including a booth about getting to know the Church!)
7. Timing is key – End of school year is ideal, because by then both students and teachers know each better; Schedule it for a day which they are most likely to make it. The first time we held this event, we did a survey for the teachers, 2 months before to find out which day they are most likely to come to a TAD activity. It turned out that most of them could go on a weekday and after school hours. Aim to send out your invites at least a month before and make a follow up 2 weeks before the activity. Teachers generally have a set schedule and busy most of the school year so lots of notice will increase their chance of coming.
8. Make the venue welcoming- Fill them with student artworks, picture gallery of CFO activities & outreach programs, have a photo booth. These ideas create lots of talking points and you will surely keep them engaged and entertained throughout the event.
9. Details do count! Make them feel special through your decorations; put ‘Teachers & Guests’ labels on their chairs; personalise their invitations and create a great first impression! You can even get the students to sit next to their teachers during the program; have the lyrics projected for CMV songs being performed, it helps get the messages across more effectively
10. Remember that in the end the Church is always the star – make sure to find a way to incorporate our faith in the event. We want to make them feel that the parents and the Church are their partners in molding the young generation; that the youth don’t just learn things in school, the students learn things in the Church that are even more valuable like doing good and being charitable. Make them see the wonderful things you do outside school. Show video of the various community service projects happening around the world (visit incgiving.org to download episodes of the INC Giving Show) so that they will know that helping others by getting involved in the community is something that the Church gives great importance to and will come to show the teachers why we appreciate them in the first place.
Are you planning your next Teacher Appreciation Week, visit incgiving.org/tools to download invitations, posters, and banners for your next event.
National Teacher Appreciation Week in the US and Canada is the first week of May.
Contributed by Love Anne Sison
Love Ann Sison is from Heathrow, United Kingdom. A mother of two boys, she actively helps in various INCGiving Projects and is part of the multimedia bureau. Her favourite part about the INCGiving Project is knowing that she’s doing something good for the community and at the same time introducing them to her faith.