What's Happening in Character?

12 Simple Acts to Show Your Teacher Appreciation

Posted by Barbara Gruener on Thu, May 4, 2017 @ 09:05 AM

It’s that time of year again, a chance to express and show appreciation and gratitude toward a very special group of women and men, those educators in our lives who work tirelessly to shape the hearts and minds of our most precious resource, our children. And while we don’t have to wait until National Teacher Appreciate Week to show our school faculty and staff how grateful we are for their positive influence and inspiration, the first week of the last month of school is a fantastic time to warm their worlds with kindness so that they can feel that they are valued, treasured and loved.  

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Topics: Teacher Appreciation

President's Column: Teacher Appreciation

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Wed, May 4, 2016 @ 08:05 AM

by Becky Sipos, President & CEO, Character.org

"In a completely rational society the best and brightest of us would aspire to be teachers, and the rest of us would have to settle for something less, because passing on civilization from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor and the highest responsibility anyone could have." --Lee Iacocca

Teacher Appreciation Week (May 1-7) is a time to reflect on the importance of teachers and how we can best honor and encourage them. As a former high school teacher, I remember the teacher appreciation breakfasts and lunches, the occasional mug or teacher appreciation planner, but not much more.

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Topics: teachers, Teacher Appreciation

Four Ideas for Boosting Teacher Morale

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Wed, Mar 9, 2016 @ 06:03 AM

by Becky Sipos

Teachers matter. Decades of research and studies have found that, what to me, seems obvious--the quality of teachers has a bigger influence on student achievement than school facilities or curriculum. But what the studies have not clearly defined is what we mean by student achievement. Nor have they figured out what to do about ensuring teacher quality. (See the latest issue of Education Next for a range of articles and commentary on this issue as they explore 50 years since the Coleman Report.)

Those who think student achievement is best measured by test scores are among those who wanted to tie teacher evaluation to student outcomes. Taking it a step further, many wanted to use those tests to eliminate the low performing teachers. That led to hotly contested policy debates on teacher evaluations and protests on time spent on testing. Not to mention that the lowest performing teachers were often those at high poverty schools, and there was not a long line highly effective teachers waiting to take those challenging positions. Those debates may have dissipated a bit with the newly passed Every Student Succeeds Act that reduces the role of the federal government in requiring test score accountability in teacher evaluations. How the states will move forward remains to be seen.

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Topics: teachers, Teacher Appreciation, Caring Community

How Do Good Leaders Demonstrate Gratitude?

Posted by Patrick Keenoy on Thu, Dec 10, 2015 @ 08:12 AM

by Patrick Keenoy, Principal, 2015 National School of Character, Rogers Elementary

One is not simply a leader because of a title or position held, rather, a leader is one who demonstrates positive character through their words and actions. These words and actions, should  motivate others to give their best effort and be people of integrity. There is a definite link between leadership and gratitude.

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Topics: leadership, core values, Teacher Appreciation

Appreciating Teachers: How Can Principals Show They Care?

Posted by Rebecca Bauer on Wed, May 6, 2015 @ 09:05 AM

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, parents across the country are organizing luncheons, baking cookies and buying gifts to thank teachers. Students are making cards and writing notes. What do principals do to appreciate the teachers at their school?

Amy Johnston was the principal of Francis Howell Middle School (Missouri), which was recognized as a National School of Character in 2008. Amy always made it a priority to listen to teachers, value their ideas and collaborate with them to make lasting school change. She emphasizes that teacher appreciation is much too important to limit to a designated day or even week.

"Showing teachers that they are appreciated should be embedded in the very culture of a building.  Appreciation should be ongoing and authentic and not based solely on something a teacher does, but for who they are and what they bring to the table.  True appreciation is beyond the Bagel Breakfast in May; it is asking, listening, grappling and learning with teachers every day.  Giving teachers a voice, honoring their wisdom and experience and making them true partners in school improvement is how great leaders appreciate teachers."

Bob Freado was both a principal and the Coordinator of Character Education for Peters Township School District (Pennsylvania), a 2010 National District of Character. He indicates one important way principals can appreciate teachers is by respecting their time. He begins his reflection with a quote and shares his teacher appreciation strategies.

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Topics: Teacher Appreciation, Professional Development

Character.org Staff Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week

Posted by Heather Cazad on Mon, May 4, 2015 @ 08:05 AM

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, Character.org staff took time to reflect on the some of their favorite teachers.

Becky: Mrs. Frazier, my fifth grade teacher, really stands out in my memory of favorites. I recall coming in from recess after lunch every day. Everyone was hot and fired up from activity until she started to read to us. Every day another chapter. We got quiet and attentive. It seemed strange to be read to as most of us were already good readers and would have said we were too old for it, but she enticed us all with great books. Not only did she read wonderful works, she introduced me to books I would have never picked up on my own. It wasn't just the literary arts. I recall our debates on the civil war, the perspective taking, the research, the passion we brought to the activity. And math lessons that really developed understanding. Just thinking about my fifth grade year makes me smile.

Iris: As a very quiet student in the recently integrated school zone of Rock Creek Park, I was often ignored by other students and even some teachers. However, my middle school Algebra 1 teacher was different. She noticed me, learned my name and treated me with respect. In that environment, I thrived. My grades were excellent, and I felt gratified. Though sometime over the many years since middle school, I have forgotten her name, I still remember exactly what she looked like and how appreciative I felt being in her classroom.


 Dave: A teacher that particularly stands out was my first grade teacher, Mrs. Maniscalco. She lived in my neighborhood in the Houston suburbs. It was a different world then, and I used to walk to the store with my little red wagon every day during the summer following my first grade. Probably twice a week, I would modify my walk to pass by Mrs Maniscalco's street. I’d ring her doorbell and wait patiently until she answered. Most days, she invited me inside to see how my summer was going - and read with me.  Before long, I started to bring my own books in the wagon. She always read with me. Years later, I reflect on how intrusive my visits must have been.  I'm married to an educator, and I know how precious summer break is. But Mrs. Maniscalco never made me feel unwelcome. She always seemed genuinely happy to see me. I've never forgotten her, or the times we read together that summer.

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Topics: Teacher Appreciation

5 Random Acts of Kindness for Teachers and Why You Should Do One Now

Posted by Rebecca Bauer on Thu, Feb 5, 2015 @ 09:02 AM

by Rebecca Bauer

Last week, a friend sent me the article, “Why So Many Teachers Feel Bad So Much of the Time”, and asked me what I thought. I was about halfway through reading it when I received a text from a different friend, a first-year high school English teacher, asking me what exactly my job was, because she wanted to do something else next year.

So what did I think about this article? I think its bleak outlook is concerningly accurate. 

In my work in education, I often hear administrators and politicians ask, “How can we better support our students?”  It’s a great question deserving a thoughtful answer, but there’s another important question that I hear asked less often.

How can we better support our teachers?

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Topics: Bauer Rebecca, Teacher Appreciation, Random Acts of Kindness