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19 Ways to Say Thanks

Anytime’s the right time to say thank you, whether it’s Teacher Appreciation or Volunteer Appreciation week or any other time of the year, but it doesn’t have to be a chore coming up with how to do that!

This post outlines 19 different ways to thank your school staff, teachers and PTO / PTA volunteers.  

These ideas make it easy to plan an entire week of appreciation events or sprinkled throughout the entire year to ensure they feel loved and appreciated for all they do all year long.

Feed Them

1. Start Their Day Right

Start their day off spectacularly with a bountiful breakfast to fuel them throughout the day.  

Try your local bread store, donut shop or Panera to score donated or discounted pastries.

Need some ideas for breakfast appropriate themes?

You can’t go wrong with decorating with Donuts!


Does school start super early or you can’t swing getting up super early to get the spread out before staff arrives?

Set it up the night before!

This fabulous spread was purchased almost entirely at a warehouse store (Costco!) for under $300.

Fun fact about this particular breakfast- school was cancelled for not one, but two days due to excessive heat.

Luckily, the office has air conditioning, and thank goodness for Press and Seal to keep the breads and pastries fresh during the surprise delay!

2. Marvelous Mid Day Meal

Themed lunches are a fun way to express your appreciation for teachers and staff.  

Here are some fantastic appreciation theme ideas they’ll love!

3. Snack Attack

Leave them in the teacher’s lounge or pile them on a cart and make classroom deliveries!

Add a silly note on the table for a fun touch and to ensure they know who’s thinking of them.

4. End the Day Delightfully

Providing dinner for your staff is always a great option and is especially thoughtful during evening conference times.  

For Conference Night meals, make sure dinner is highly portable and not a fork and knife deal so it’ll be quick and easy to eat!  

Pizza or subs are both great, relatively no mess options.

Here are a ton of additional ideas for appreciation themes to consider.

5. Establish a Candy Drawer

This is an out of the box appreciation idea perfect for the entire staff!

Ask the school secretary for a space to keep stocked with chocolate and candy for a spur of the moment treat whenever staff feel the need for some sugar.

Some PTOs start with a base stock level, but then add to it based on how many PTO members each class has.

The higher the membership level, the greater number of pounds of candy added.

This is a smart way to get the teachers involved in supporting the PTO and get more bang for your appreciation buck.

Tweak this for volunteer appreciation by providing candy at PTO meetings.

Pamper Them

6. On the spot stress relief

Book a massage therapist to come in for a few days and offer chair massages to staff.

Look first to your school families to see if there’s a masseuse parent who will donate their time or offer a substantial discount.

7. Score them a deal

Hit the pavement and visit local retailers to see if they’d be willing to give your teachers or volunteers a discount or even a coupon for your teachers and staff and create a one of a kind discount card just for them!

8. Eliminate a major stressor… for a day or two

Take over car line duty during morning drop off or afternoon pickup.

Bonus points if you take over on a rainy or particularly cold day so staff tasked with this duties can stay dry and warm.

Add Some Helping Hands

9. Take over the mundane

Make copies!

This is a no brainer monotonous task that you can do to relieve teachers from doing.

Reload the copier with paper while you’re there to save others from the chore.

10. Clean up a forgotten area

Organize a storage area for the staff (with the Principal’s blessing first!) or ask a Teacher if they’d like some help.

Many times spaces become disorganized when teachers don’t have enough time to keep up with all of the stuff they use.  

This was the case with our PE teacher’s office and equipment room.  

I helped her once a week for 40 minutes at a time to whip it into shape.  

She was overwhelmed at the thought of tackling the project herself, and it was fun to do together!

11. Ask What They Need

Sometimes there are some small tasks that you can do for a staff member that helps them out a lot, so don’t be shy about asking!

Add Fun and Gratitude

12. Celebrate All Birthdays

Get a list of all staff birthdays at the beginning of the year and make a birthday card for each staff, or bring in a balloon!

Hit up your dollar store for a birthday sash or tiara for some over the top fun.

13. Decorate Their Doors

When coupled with other Staff Appreciation Plans, decorating all staff members’ doors is a striking gesture.

Need some ideas for door decorations? Check out this Pinterest board filled with tons of great ideas!

14. Take Note

Handwritten notes are a fabulous way to express your appreciation for all that they do.

Teacher Appreciation Letter

15. Get students to show the love

Send a piece of construction paper home with students and ask that they write a note of appreciation to their teacher.  

The paper could even be shaped to fit a chosen theme.

Think stars for a Hollywood/Oscars themed event.

Letter to My Teacher Student Teacher Appreciation Gift

16. Publish a Book

Send this fillable pdf home and compile the responses into a book for each staff member.

Great project for Room Parents to take on!

17. Get them on TV

Nominate your teacher for recognition in the local newspaper or tv station.

18. Chalk the Walk

Write love notes on the sidewalks heading into the school for a can’t miss message of appreciation.

19. Pick a posy

Pick pretty flowers from your garden, or get a donation from a local florist.  

For a cost-effective plant gift, get a flat of plants, then cut the cells apart into individual plant pods.  

I did this one year in mid-May, when flats were just beginning to be available in my area and the teachers went bananas.  

One teacher cried because she was having a super rough day and the plant was just what she needed!  

Inexpensive win!

Bonus idea!

20. Post your love

Shout out your love and appreciation for volunteers, teachers and staff on social media with fun graphics!

Over to You!

Hope these ideas have inspired you to show your appreciation at times other than Staff Appreciation Week, perhaps even monthly.

It could be as simple as adding seasonal decorations to the teachers lounge.

A little bit goes a long way!SaveSaveSaveSave


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