Giving the Gift of Time

teacher-appreciation-weekBy Nick McDaniels — Last week, as you know, was teacher appreciation week. Like every year, I got a new t-shirt, candy in my mailbox in the mornings, a lunch on Friday. The administration and faculty at my school do a good job during this week and I enjoy all the gifts and the kindness.

However, this post is about one of the the best gifts I have ever heard of a teacher receiving. The gift of time. In a conversation with a few great principals, they told me about the gifts they give to their teachers. And one gift they talked about was the gift of time. Every year the principal gives teachers a gift certificate for an hour or so of time to use as they please. They cash in this certificate (with advanced notice of course) and the principal teaches their classes for them. The teachers then are free to do as they please, go out to lunch, get a massage, etc.

Teachers, under all the pressure to run data, call parents, get professionally developed, grade papers, attend meetings have a dwindling amount of time to complete their work, and most teachers, as we all know, take home hours more work. That is why this gift of time is so important to teachers. It doesn’t necessarily help them to get any more work done, but it does remind them that someone notices how much time is being put into their work. It is this type of gift, something that really reflects the work that teachers do, that makes a great teacher appreciation gift.

Unfortunately, my school is probably too large to pull off something like this with well over 100 teachers. However, if you are a principal or teacher in a small school, recommend or suggest it next year for teacher appreciation week. This type of thoughtfulness and mutual respect can really energize a staff in a positive way.

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