How many hours do you spend looking for new staff every year?

How much of your time, money and energy goes into finding substitutes and interviewing and onboarding new teachers?

A recent national study took into account the costs of hiring new teachers every single year.

Some of the costs are obvious but many of them are hidden.

  • Time spent on teacher recruitment

  • The time spent training new staff on policies, procedures, and expectations of your school

  • The time it takes for the teacher to orient herself to the new school before she really starts to bring her A Game – it can mean months of lost productivity and teaching for the children

  • Orientation requirements for new teachers and you, as the director, taking the time to give the emotional support that new teachers need to feel welcome in this new space.

The study showed that it costs the nation $2.2 billion per year for teachers who leave the profession completely!

And when the cost of replacing teachers who transfer schools is added, that number rises to approximately $4.9 billion per year.

The average cost of replacing teachers costs close to $6,000 PER TEACHER!

When you look at the data it can feel overwhelming and almost deflating.

You tell yourself

  • What should I do? I can’t pay the top dollar!

  • Or you think to yourself, this is the industry , people leave.

  • Or you blame the teachers for feeling entitled and ungrateful

The truth is that there is something you can do about it. It’s called appreciation.

Appreciating your staff isn’t just for once a month events or programs. It needs to be a daily and weekly practice.

When people feel valued in their workplace and when they truly feel that their director has their back and knows and understands them as an individual they will stay!

Creating that type of culture takes time and effort – for more strategies on how to do this: visit

With National Teacher Appreciation Week coming up many school leaders are planning an appreciation brunch or gifts to give the teachers.

This is great and teachers do enjoy these tokens of appreciation. However, appreciation that is specific to the individual is what really connects with the teacher and makes her feel that THIS is her place and creates more ownership from the teacher.

Here are 4 ideas you can try in the coming weeks that are both specific and unique.

  1. Hire a masseuse to come to the school and give the staff massages. You can set up a light spread of food like a hot chocolate station with dippings or just tea and homemade cookies. Most teachers would never treat themselves to a massage and doing this shows your staff you are ready to go the extra mile for them.

  2. Specific gratitude at the brunch – if you do a brunch for your staff then take the time to make it meaningful for each teacher. You can write an individual thank you card and put it by each teacher’s spot at the table. Or you can write up a unique quality that you are grateful for and frame it and put that by each spot.

  3. Voice memos – there is so much that can be understood in a person’s tone of voice. Recording a short voice memo of why you are grateful for that teacher and emailing it to her is a wonderful way to show the teacher you are thinking about her and reaching out even if it’s just to share a thank you.

  4. Favorite food buffet – Find out what each teacher’s favorite food is and then create a buffet of all the food with a small card and the teacher’s name next to it. You can set this up in the hallway as the teachers and parents are coming in. Showing gratitude to staff in a way that parents can see it – really raises morale and models to the parents that you are grateful for the effort and work the teachers do.

To understand what your teacher’s language of appreciation is and how to do this as a daily practice : visit