Engage in Appreciation

Bobbie FrenchBlog, Engage Better, Lead Better, Reflect Better


  • Everyone likes to feel appreciated for the work they do.
  • Surprise gratitude can brighten up someone’s day.
  • Find ways to show specific gratitude towards coworkers and students.

Everyone working in schools right now is working as hard as they possibly can. Our transportation staff is up bright and early to get our students safely to and from school. The cafeteria staff provides lunches for ALL of our students and sometimes breakfast or an extra snack. Our custodial staff keeps our school looking its best. I can list all the wonderful things our nurses, administrative and support staff do behind the scenes to keep our schools functioning and not to mention the teachers, paraprofessionals, and administrators that give it their all EVERY day.

The calendar has dates set aside specifically to show appreciation for these various groups of the school staff.

Administrative Professionals Day (4/27/22), Nurse’s Day (5/11/22), and Teacher Appreciation (5/3/22) are all coming up.

Do we use these dates to remind us that our school staff needs appreciation for all they do? All they give to our students on a daily basis? The sacrifices they make as school employees?

There’s power in appreciation. Click To Tweet

Unexpected Gratitude

I’ve always believed in showing gratitude. We all want to know that our work is valued and feel validated. That we are making a difference is important to us. We want someone to notice us and the work we do.

Gratitude can take many forms. Sometimes we even receive unexpected emails and cards from former students. Some of you may have been the fortunate recipients of one of these unexpected notes of appreciation. The work we do in schools makes a difference in the lives of the students we serve.

Recently, I was the recipient of one of these unexpected emails. A parent invited me to her son’s college graduation party. I was Jamie’s principal for only two years. I could not have known the impact I would have on some of the students I served, even for a short while. His mom said she had always told herself that she would invite me if he ever graduated from college because I was one of the first people (other than her) to believe in him. WOW! This email impacted me in an enormous way, and it was a reminder that my impact may never be known, but that what I do and how I make kids feel matters.

Jamie struggled in school. He needed people that believed in him and made him feel like he belonged. He needed people to help him see his potential and support him in developing his confidence in his abilities. Jamie needed to know he was worth it. He needed to know he could do it. Jamie graduated in December with dual majors from the University of Tampa. It took him a while, but he did it!! I could not be prouder of him and what he was able to accomplish.

The Power of Appreciation

There’s power in appreciation. I try to show my teachers how much I appreciate them. This year, I hand-wrote a Thanksgiving card to each of them to show how thankful I was for them. Each card was personalized to the staff member with specific words of appreciation.

I have “You Rock” and “Anchors of Appreciation” note cards that I leave for teachers when I visit their classrooms.

Sometimes I just leave the note discreetly on the teacher’s desk for them to find later. I like knowing that my note could brighten their day or reinforce something positive I saw in the classroom.

It’s also important that we simply tell others that we appreciate them; we appreciate the hard work they do and share our gratitude on a regular basis.

Being an educator is tough right now. We need to look for joy throughout our day. When someone brings us joy, we should tell them. We can encourage each other. We can brighten our colleagues’ days.

Appreciate Your Students

Gratitude should not be reserved just for the adults in the building. When was the last time you showed genuine gratitude to your students? Have you ever noticed that when you offer a genuine compliment to someone, they usually repeat whatever it was that got them that compliment? A person will wear their hair the same way again if someone compliments it. If you tell someone a shirt brings out their eyes, they will want to wear it more often. This is true for our students.

Showing appreciation to our students by being specific and telling them what we appreciate about them will make them want to repeat their behavior. It will also make them feel really good about themselves.

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Lead with Appreciation

There are so many ways to show appreciation to so many different people in our lives. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to sharing appreciation. I have a folder of saved ideas from various Facebook groups. In addition, I  recommend Lead with Appreciation; Fostering a Culture of Gratitude by Amber Teamann and Melinda Miller.
I love how simple these ideas are to show people you appreciate them. If you’re an administrator and have not joined their Facebook Group, “Principal Staff Appreciation & Motivation,” you should put that on the top of your to-do list.

I’ll never forget how surprised and thankful my [former] custodians were with their chips and Mountain Dew when we told them that they were “All that and a Bag of Chips” and that we appreciated all that they “Dew”! We can use small moments like this to show how much we value someone. Showing appreciation is simple, and we should throw gratitude around like confetti!

Showing appreciation is all about telling people that you are grateful for them. Try it today! Look for all of the things you are grateful for around you and make sure you tell people. Tell them how much you appreciate them and make sure to tell them what you are grateful for.

Spread gratitude all year long and everywhere you go!

About Bobbie French

Bobbie French is an educational leader, presenter and writer from Massachusetts.

Bobbie has been an educator for over 24 years. She has been an elementary guidance counselor, classroom teacher, special education coordinator, Title I Director, Preschool Director and Administrator.

Bobbie is passionate about focusing on the whole child and creating an environment where all students have a sense of belonging. She appreciates and recognizes the hard work of teachers, and is committed to supporting others to be their best for kids every day. Her passion and enthusiasm for creating a positive and engaging school culture is contagious.

Bobbie is also an avid photographer and loves to tell her school’s story.