8 Ways Teachers Have Gone Above and Beyond

Principals share how teachers have gone the extra mile—and how they've supported them.

It’s been an incredibly difficult year for schools, and teachers have shown time and again their passion for their students and their resilience in the face of challenge after challenge. We asked our members what their teachers did for their school communities that stood out to them. Here’s what they said—and how they worked to support them and show their appreciation.

  1. Fostering Community: “This past year has stretched our teachers to the max, and they have risen to the challenge. Working alongside teachers and listening to their needs has been a crucial strategy for supporting them. I have found that listening to the challenges and finding resources to support technical needs, along with providing time for teachers to collaborate, has been successful. This year, we increased our PLC time within the master schedule to facilitate deeper collaboration between teachers and it has been a lifesaver. Teachers are sharing resources, teaching each other how to effectively and creatively use technology, and creating amazing learning opportunities together. We are always stronger together!” – Rachel Roberts, Florida
  2. Differentiation: “Staff have shown tremendous flexibility with giving grace for assignments, zooming with small groups and one-on-one, taking school assignments to student homes, and ensuring students have breakfast and lunches.” – Ashley Aldridge Wilson, Tennessee
  3. Preparation Under Pressure: “The things I have seen teachers do during virtual and hybrid learning are monumental. The ingenuity, productions, and preparations to reach students is incredible. Whether it is using multiple screens, learning and teaching through a learning management system, using programs like Pear Deck, or simply working with kids during synchronous support time, teachers have worked above and beyond to help and reach kids.” – Edward Cosentino, Maryland
  4. Increased Family Engagement: “They take calls at all times of the day—evening, night, and weekends. They are in constant communication via text and email with parents and guardians. They visit homes and deliver items. They meet families and help them with everything from how to login to a device to how to complete assignments. I am so proud of their dedication to our kids!” – Matthew Moyer, Pennsylvania
  5. Exceeding Expectations: “Our teachers have far-exceeded our expectations in helping their students. They have worked with students in-person, while in quarantine, and during distance learning times. They have made porch drop-offs when families were quarantined and couldn’t leave their homes so students wouldn’t miss out on food, school work, and needed supplies. They have recorded lessons, maintained Seesaw and Google classrooms, individualized assignments to meet student needs, helped resolved technology issues, and the list goes on. Teachers have been a friend to families and have provided so much more than academic support during the last year. … Administrators have tried to do for teachers what teachers are doing for students: be a support and take care of them regardless of the need. We are family and we take care of each other!” –Vicki Wilson, Oklahoma
  6. Making Learning Fun: “They make phone call after phone call to try to reach families. They create fun hands-on grab-and-go STEAM bags and crafts. They are flexible with their time in meeting with parents to help them with tech issues or other questions. Our Teachers on Assignment come in once a week to give hands-on tech support. We use our office staff to support our teachers in making contact with families that they cannot get a hold of. I send handwritten and electronic thank you cards and treats as a thank you. I plan fun virtual events throughout the month to keep staff morale high and we can stay connected.” – Jessica Gomez, California
  7. Meeting Student Needs: “Teachers are utilizing every ounce of creativity they have and every spare minute in the school day to meet student learning and emotional needs. They need someone to be looking after their needs, and as their principal, that is my job. From Monday Morning check-in surveys and a Zen Zone room where staff can renew and refresh throughout the day to handwritten notes and donuts to celebrating every single thing that feels good, it is important to build in as much positive and relief as much stress and guilt as possible. I am honored to do this work for them as they work so hard for our students.” – Allyson Apsey, Michigan
  8. Going Above and Beyond: “Every day they go above and beyond: driving supplies to kids’ houses, troubleshooting through technology with them, phone calls or texts with parents in the evening, PD on their own time at night and over the weekend, and gifting kids books and other supplies. I try to give my teachers small tokens of appreciation every few weeks. Sometimes it’s snacks, sometimes a note, sometimes a fun game together, sometimes a poem, and sometimes the gift of time to talk with each other or plan together.” – Liz Garden, Massachusetts

Celebrate Your Teachers

We’re celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week May 3-7. As we come to the end of the school year and reflect on how much your teachers have done to help your students and school community—and you!—join us on social media by using #ThankATeacher and tagging @NAESP to spread the word about how much you appreciate your teachers.