How to Appreciate Good Teachers



Mrs. Dobbs, will you please cover my 7th period class for today? I have an emergency, and I must leave.

Mrs. Dobbs, will you please lead the discussion on “classroom management” today during our staff meeting? I am sorry I did not give you time to prepare, but I can count on you, right?

Mrs. Dobbs, did you complete the self-assessment survey sent to you this morning? It’s a five-page survey needed by noon today?

Mrs. Dobbs, I heard about the altercation you encountered with one of your students today: I also heard you handled the student professionally.

Mrs. Dobbs, remember to add your own professional development hours for credit. Just YouTube how to access the site to add your credits.

Prepare lesson plans. Add technology. Arrive early to school; stay late. Contact parents. Do this. Do that. . . And the saga continues.

Teachers get burned out too. It’s not only some students struggling with learning it’s also some teachers struggling with teaching. Many times, the number of tasks teachers are asked to perform is too much and can be very stressful for them.

Because of the mountain of teacher duties for them to perform, some teachers become unmotivated to complete every task assigned because teachers lack the energy; moreover, they lack the support they need from administration.

When teachers perform a good job of teaching, they rarely hear the words, “You are a good teacher, and I appreciate you.” When teachers go out of their way to help another teacher with an important task, and administration knows about it, they rarely hear, “That was a kind thing to do: thank you.”

Appreciation seems to be lost in the closet because few people pull out appreciation to wear it.

Compliment Employees

Why do many school administrators renege on bestowing compliments to teachers when teachers are deserving of the compliments?

Teachers receiving compliments will help them carry on productively their duties if they felt better appreciated by their administrators.

Studied have shown that most people do not extend compliments because people rarely know how to extend expressions of appreciation without thinking others believe the compliments carry an ulterior motive.

Some bosses reveal, “If you are paid well, then that’s your compliment.” Still, research shows that some people believe extending compliments to others reduces one’s own competence, and few people enjoy recognizing their own weaknesses. However, teacher support of “excellence” is reduced to mediocrity when their efforts and hard work are unacknowledged.

Developing a positive school climate is critical to an effective school,” reveals proponents of education, and “Morale is a very tentative issue. When teachers feel underappreciated, their morale plummets.”

Thus, administrators can encourage teachers to seek the “lift” they need by asking for moral support. “Hey, how was my speech today, Principal Moore?” Asking an administrator a simple question for feedback should help boost a teacher to persevere with his duties. Of course, having a teacher to ask for support does not excuse an administrator for automatically extending the support. “Uplifting” is any leader’s duty.

Education world: principal files

Another research tenet to understand is that receiving a compliment can enhance performance, social interaction, positiveness in relationships and increase general happiness. Compliments can lift moods, improve engagement with tasks, enhance learning and increase persistence (School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne)

Evidence also supports “Giving compliments is arguably better than receiving them, just as giving gifts or contributing to charity has benefits to them.

Teachers understand that their jobs are not easy and that a lot is expected of them, and many teachers are willing to do their jobs exceptionally well.

Teachers are humans and need the support of their school superiors to notice the good things they do and for administrators to say something about the good things.

Teachers get burned out: They need moral support to help revive and continue the jobs that only teachers can do very well.

Mrs. Dobbs, how are you today? I see you look gorgeous and ready to meet your students today. Thank you, Mrs. Dobbs, for being a great inspiration to many teachers and other educators.”

(Huff Puff). Emily Blatchford

Stop holding back on giving compliments when they are helpful to another’s progress. Notice when a good deed has been performed, and acknowledge it.

In a school setting, it would be a big mistake to ignore the deeds of a good teacher for the sake of not knowing how to motivate. What happens when the good teacher resigns? Good teachers are rare gems. Never take them for granted. It takes a savvy administrator to realize a
teacher’s excellence and to reward him accordingly.

Teachers get burned out too. Pick them up
with a compliment.


Below are tips for school administrators to motivate their teachers:

  1. Always acknowledge teachers. When they cross your path, be the first to greet them by name.
  2. Being an administrator in a hurry, passing by a teacher, throw a sincere compliment his way: “Hey, John. Saw your students’ scores reach the ceiling. Great. We’ll celebrate soon—“
  3. Place a surprise gas-card ($25 only) in a hardworking teacher’s employee box.
  4. Say thanks to all teachers during a staff meeting, yet point out a particular employee who has gone above and beyond her teacher’s duty, such as working with gifted students after school showing them how to use leadership tools.
  5. Provide all necessary machinery and teaching materials teachers need as extras to their teacher fee money.
  6. Allow teachers to select their own necessary professional development sessions, and make sure administration pays for the course.
  7. Visit teachers’ rooms informally, and leave a sticky note of excellence if warranted or a leave a “I have tips to share with you: See me during your break tomorrow. Thanks.”
  8. During each staff meeting, if appropriate, allow teachers to take the podium for 10 minutes to speak what’s on their minds.
  9. Serve DELICIOUS snacks—nothing non-tasty—for teachers’ early mornings: Fruits, cookies, coffee, orange juice.
  10. Place scattered notes of appreciation in the teachers’ lounge or in the men’s and ladies’ rooms for teachers to read.
  11. Purposely seek ways to motivate, to compliment, to inspire employees regularly.
  12. If a teacher of the month or year is required to implement, make sure all teachers know the criteria involved in the teacher celebrated program to help make the recognition of winning meaningful.

Teachers need support from administrators, for administrators are in a perfect position to motivate teachers to continue teachers’ wearing the many hats that they automatically adopt on a daily basis just by being a teacher.


[Let me hear from you: Please make a comment.]

Cynthia Mathews (2020)
Professional Development Writer & Consultant

Published by cynthiamathews

I'm an innovative spirit, one who seeks new and practical ways to learn about life. I enjoy exploring innovative styles to motivate people to persevere in a challenging world. Having a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Curriculum & Instruction, I am inspired to maintain a life long learning experience that will allow me to share my knowledge with others. My expertise includes detecting apathy in individuals and prescribing ways to motivate them to be their best. To initiate this endeavor, I create and conduct personal and professional development programs. I write briefs and pamphlets and instructional guides to inspire, and I speak--upon request--to those who need a reminder of their inner excellence. My blog's main focus is to document my research on motivation and curriculum instruction and to share with subscribers the understanding, the ideas, and the strategies that result from my research. I am a native of Alabama, a teacher, and an author. I look forward to learning with you.

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