Smiling teacher during teacher appreciation week. Text overlay reads: 'The Best Way to Show Teacher Appreciation is Through Personalized Professional Development'

Matt Homrich-Knieling April 1, 2024

The Best Way to Show Teacher Appreciation is Through Personalized Professional Development

Matt Homrich-Knieling

Writer and Educator

With Teacher Appreciation Week coming up next month starting on May 6th, many school leaders and administrators are wondering how best to show appreciation for their teachers. Luckily, there are plenty of meaningful ways that principals can demonstrate their appreciation this week. In fact, here’s a list of ten creative and tangible options!

While specific acts of appreciation during this week can be validating and affirming for teachers, this week should also serve as a time for principals to reflect on how to create a school culture that appreciates and supports teachers year round. Perhaps the most important way principals can demonstrate their authentic appreciation is through your-round, personalized professional development. By investing in each teachers’ professional learning, principals show their commitment to continual professional support, collaboration, and career growth. 

So principals: In addition to the well-deserved acts of appreciation during Teacher Appreciation Week, here is how you might approach personalized professional development as a form of ongoing appreciation.

Personalized Professional Development as Teacher Appreciation

What Does the Research Say?

Teachers verifiably want meaningful professional development opportunities. Survey research outlined by The Journal pointed out teachers almost unanimously (94%) believe that continual professional development is critical for teacher effectiveness; similarly, 91% of surveyed teachers expressed interest in personalized professional learning experiences. 

Research published by The Texas Forum of Teacher Education also found a strong relationship between professional development and job satisfaction among teachers. Similarly, research out of The Journal of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies illustrates the role professional support plays in increasing teacher retention.

Plainly, all of this data communicates that teachers deeply desire meaningful, individualized professional learning experiences

How to Provide Personalized & On-Going Professional Development?

First, principals need to become familiar with their teachers’ professional needs and interests. Through a combination of informal classroom observations and one-on-one conversations with teachers, principals can begin to identify what categories of professional support each teacher wants and needs. From there, principals might find both common needs across the teacher staff and individualized needs among teachers. 

This information is critical for developing a responsive professional development plan. Professional needs that are common across staff can likely be addressed through whole-group workshops, while individualized needs can be addressed through coaching and asynchronous courses. It is the combination of these efforts that creates individualized and meaningful professional learning.

In other words, a personalized, ongoing professional development plan needs to incorporate different forms of professional support: Coaching, Workshops, Learning Walks, and Asynchronous Courses. This multilayered approach ensures that your teachers – collectively and individually – receive the support they need and deserve.

Teacher Appreciation Week & Beyond

Teachers are incredible. They show up every day for our students to provide engaging and challenging learning experiences. They work with families to build trust and foster communication. They support our students when they’re struggling academically and personally. They do this and so much more. 

During Teacher Appreciation Week, let’s flood our educators with the love and validation that they deserve. Then, let’s get serious about authentically supporting our teachers year-round.

Most often, capacity is the biggest barrier to providing personalized and year-round professional support. Schedule a call with BetterLesson today to learn about how we can partner with your school to provide individualized and impactful professional development.

Get in Touch