Play the Gratitude Game this Thanksgiving

Derek Severson

Late November is by far my favorite part of the year. Celebrating Thanksgiving brings me great comfort and happiness each year. I look forward to food comas, football, and black Friday shopping each year. But what I cherish the most around this time of year, is showing my gratitude to those who play that supportive role in my life. Along with family and friends, I also look to thank students, parents and peer educators throughout my school district.

Gratitude goes a long way. Think of a lasting impression somebody left you as they showed their thankfulness towards you. It’s a great feeling! So why not let those you appreciate experience that too!

Here are three people in education you can play the gratitude game with this Thanksgiving.

Thanking the peers you work with is a must. They can make your life at work so much easier and enjoyable. “Thank You” cards leave a lasting impression. It doesn’t take much time to write what you’re thankful for to your fellow educators. It’s more personable and shows those you thank that how you value them.

If you want to go the extra mile saying “Thank you,” use your creativity and skill set to surprise and impress your staff. Maybe bring in some baked goods, facilitate a fun group activity at the next staff meeting, or help a teacher clean up their classroom. Saying “thank you” to your peers in creative ways will not only leave a memorable moment but strengthen relationships within your building.

It would take a lot of time to write “Thank You” cards to all your students, especially if you had multiple classes. So show your gratitude a different way. Greet your students at the door and give them that personable “Thank You” message.  Or get creative and use what's accessible to you.

I showed my gratitude towards students by periodically opening up my classroom (gymnasium) before / after school and during recess periods to give students an extra opportunity for physical activity.  Just doing this helped pave the way to strengthen student relations, which in turn, created more student buy-in as the school year progressed.

Showing your thanks can be done multiple ways. Maybe give students more decision making power within the classroom. Offer more choices and opportunities for student voice. Offer to stay late and make your classroom available help students complete their work and get organized for the next day. Or simply, show that gratitude through your demeanor and gestures with your students. Students have that uncanny ability to pick up those signals and will appreciate that.

Gratitude goes a long way....your students love to be thanked!

Sometimes, parents are the hardest to say “thank you” to. We see them every so often and often don’t have the time to truly show our appreciation for their supporting role in their child’s education.

An easy way to show thanks to parents is through an email…not through text, but through video. Video emails are super simple, and they are more likely to be viewed than a written text message. Video emails provide that visual component that is so necessary when sharing news and information with parents. Putting together a video is sure to leave a lasting impression and can really generate a conversation the next time you meet with parents.

Check out Will Potter’s video newsletters he created using iMovie. Will is a Physical Education teacher in California. I met Will this summer at a PE professional development where he introduced me to his video newsletters he sends to his school’s parents. Will recommends using iMovie to create video newsletters. I can attest to how well iMovie works, and I guarantee, it will take little to no time to get accustom to.

Video newsletters can be fun, genuine, and more personable than written text.

My Challenge for You
This November, say “Thank You!” Say it loud, and say it proud. Let those who you thank experience that incredible feeling from a kind word or two. There are many ways to show our gratitude towards teachers, students, and parents. I encourage you to explore your creativity and say “thank you” a new way.

I am always looking for new ideas I can show my gratitude with the Health and Physical Education teachers I support in my district. If you have a creative way to share your gratitude with teachers, students, and/or parents, what have you found to leave that lasting impression?

  • Communication
  • Media
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The opinions expressed by the CORElaborate Bloggers, guest bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD), Ready Washington or any employee thereof. PSESD is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Washington State Teacher Leader or Guest Bloggers.