When I was student teaching, my cooperating teacher gave me helpful tips and practical advice. She told me that every member of a school is important. All you need to experience is one less-than-competent colleague, school secretary, or custodian to know that each of us has a part to play in running an effective school.
Sure enough! During my second year of teaching I experienced a less-than-stellar custodian. Every day when he came in to sweep my classroom, he shoved all of my desks against one side of the room. He said it was easier to sweep that way. But, he never moved the desks back. So each morning when I came in, I found my room in shambles. I could either give up my valuable before school prep time to move the desks back or have my students move them back when they arrived. UGH! Either lose prep time or have students who started their day overly excited. What a choice!
After that experience I knew how important a competent custodian really is to teachers. I have shown my appreciation in different ways. I think the thing I did that custodians liked the best was when I gave them popsicles. One summer I was working in my classroom getting it ready for the new year. Of course, this was without the benefit of air conditioning. Sweat was dripping off of me and I wasn’t doing physical labor like the custodians. At lunch time I ran to the local grocery store and picked up several boxes of popsicles. I put the extras in the freezer so they could have a cool break the next day.
I am always looking for new ideas. How do you show appreciation?