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Teacher rewards are often overlooked by most schools and colleges and perhaps why teachers feel unmotivated and discouraged in the industry.

All the parents and schools want to hire and retain good teachers who are extremely good at handling their subjects and their students but seldom are teachers recognized for the tireless efforts they put in. Rewards for teachers help in appreciating their efforts and help in keeping them motivated to do a good job as always. 

In this blog, we discuss the most popular rewards and incentives for teachers that can be adopted by schools, prep centers, colleges and universities to recognize teacher efforts and keep them happy.

Teachers are valuable human resources that shape not just the future but also the branding of the workplace. A good reward system for teachers helps in retaining well trained and well educated, skilled teachers. 

10 Teacher rewards ideas for recognizing teachers' efforts 

Research on the current pay and compensation system of teachers have revealed that the criterias that are used to measure teachers’ pay is inefficient as it does not evaluate many key parameters that help in paying teachers properly.

A performance based pay that consists of a wider perspective with the inclusion of many parameters should be taken to reward and recognize teacher efforts towards students and the wellbeing of the school. 

If you were looking for ideas for creative and innovative ways to appreciate teachers, here is our selection of the best workplace rewards for teachers. These teacher rewards are great employee appreciation tools for the long, selfless service that they put in and to encourage them to keep up their good performance. 

1. Personalized thank you notes 

A written word is more powerful than anything else. A certificate of honor, a badge of recognition or even a simple thank you note for the relentless efforts and services that teachers put in at work can help in boosting the morale of the teachers.

9 of 10 employees agreed that when employers are able to pass on gratitude in a simple but routine manner, it helps in boosting employee morale at the workplace. 

  • Handwritten thank you notes

A handwritten thank you note, a letter of appreciation or a simple email or shoutout on the staff bulletin board can help. 

  • Individual contribution recognition

Employers can highlight an employee's individual contribution in the shout out and inspire others to follow suit. 

  • Encouraging students, parents, and colleagues to participate

Schools can also ask for testimonials or appreciation messages from students and parents and create a video, letter or a public announcement to appreciate teachers formally. 

2. Teacher of the month awards 

This is perhaps one of the most common but effective workplace techniques to motivate and encourage employees. Employers can either use a rotating trophy or a simple award along with a shoutout to recognize one teacher each month as the teacher of the month for their outstanding contributions and efforts. 

  • Monthly polls and announcements

Create a polling system amongst staff and faculties to choose one employee each month that will receive the award. 

  • Showcasing their achievements and contributions

Employers can showcase their achievements using a notice board announcement, a morning assembly announcement or a public shoutout.

  • Teacher of the year

Schools can celebrate one best teacher every year who has the most ‘teacher of the month’ awards. This can be made special by attaching a small cash reward or gift card or certificate of honor. This helps in boosting morale and inspires other faculty members to work towards it. 

A classic example of recognizing teachers - the Xavier Charter school in Idaho rewards and recognizes teachers of the month in their monthly newsletter and gives them a celebratory public shoutout. 

3. Professional development opportunities

Employers should present employees with opportunities to learn and develop their skill set. This helps the workplace by providing competent staff with advanced skill sets and also helps in improving the productivity and performance of the employee.

Similarly, teachers should be recognized for their talents and skills and should be provided additional opportunities to take up new roles, take up certification courses and attend workshops or conferences. Teachers who are better learnt and equipped help students achieve better by 21 percent. 

  • Encouraging ongoing learning and skill development

Schools must be able to provide accessibility and flexibility for staff to expand their learning horizons and take up new courses and additional certificate courses while at the current job. 

  • Providing funding or access to workshops and conferences

Schools must allocate a small fund for teachers who want to take up workshops and conferences and help gain new insights and knowledge in teaching technologies from the industry and from associating with other teachers. 

A good example of teachers who participate in ongoing learning and development is from the Queens university of Charlotte. The university supports teachers to take part in conferences, workshops and provides opportunities for parallel learning. 

4. Teacher lounge upgrades

Teachers put in long hours and seldom get any rest at all. Their days start by welcoming students at the driveway or the hallway and can go well beyond carpool pickups and bus lane duties.

Improving their rest areas and lounging areas can help them catch that well deserved break. Infact, research in the UK schools revealed that teachers find their work positive and pleasing but do not have the means to make work easier on them. 

  • Renovating or improving the teacher lounge

Teachers lounge or staff room should be well lit, air conditioned and offer plenty of space for teachers to partner, collaborate with each other while also taking rest and rejuvenating during stressful work hours. 

  • Providing healthy snacks and beverages

A good add on for the lounge area would be a fridge or a snack bar that has options of beverages, healthy snacks and fruits that teachers can enjoy. 

Studies reveal that even though lounges are being replaced with individual staff offices, lounges always provide a space for teachers to discuss and grow together as a team. 

5. Recognition ceremonies and assemblies

Nothing beats a proper ceremony that recognizes the individual contribution of a teacher in front of the other staff members, faculty and students.

Holding a simple ceremony to celebrate their success helps in boosting employee morale and sets up the right precedent for students who will learn to do well in their jobs as well with the right positive encouragement. 

  • Hosting recognition ceremonies

Schools can host a ceremony on International teachers day, cultural or annual day to recognize the efforts of the teachers and honor them with awards, certificates or small rewards. 

  • Involving students and parents in celebrating teachers

Schools can also ask for students and parents to celebrate the success and contribution of teachers by taking part in the celebrations. 

  • Showcasing teachers' achievements and contributions

Teachers who win state wide or district wide recognition for their skills, achievements etc can be celebrated with a special ceremony showcasing their achievements. 

A good example of hosting ceremonies to recognize teachers is practiced by the Santa Clara County office of Education where there is an annual event hosted to celebrate the contributions and efforts of teachers towards the community. 

6. Wellness programs and health benefits

Another great way to recognize teachers for their selfless contribution is by taking care of them just as they take care of their students and wards.

Offering wellness programs and health benefits to teachers so they may enjoy various perks such as gyms, fitness centers, yoga and meditation class accesses etc would be greatly appreciated by teachers who hardly have any time or resources to spare. 

  • Wellness programs, gym memberships, or fitness classes

Offering health and wellness programs that can be accessed by the teachers on a daily or weekly basis such as gyms, fitness classes etc. 

  • Health insurance incentives and wellness incentives

Providing health insurance, dental insurance, wellness incentives and benefits that help in taking care of themselves will be greatly appreciated by teachers. 

  • Promoting physical and mental well-being

Teachers end up physically and mentally drained after back to back classes, setting up exams and tests, helping kids prepare for them, giving out results and helping them with co curricular activities. It is important to care for them by providing physical and mental well being perks that they can access and make use of. 

7. Educational grants and scholarships

Teachers who want to pursue further education, research and want to further their career in the education space must be encouraged and provided with the opportunity to do so. Schools must help with grants and scholarships for deserving and talented teachers to take up courses and programs that can help them with their career. 

  • Securing grants or scholarships for professional development

Schools can work with the government and the local society by raising funds that can be allocated to teachers who want to pursue further education, courses and research prohams. 

  • Supporting teachers in pursuing advanced degrees or certifications

By supporting teachers with grants and scholarships, teachers can engage students better, impart education to them in the right way. It is a win-win for both students and schools.

  • Investing in the long-term growth of educators

Schools that invest in the long term education of educators see a positive growth and better retainent of the staff and faculty. Since further education is expensive, schools can help with grants and scholarships for the betterment of their teachers. 

8. Flexible work arrangements

Teachers are always overworked and studies suggest that teachers in the US feel under appreciated, exhausted and underpaid for the services that they provide. Providing teachers with facilities that help them with their day to day lives and improve their standards of living are much appreciated by teachers. 

  • Allowing flexible work hours or remote work options

Teachers who want to look for flexible working hours should be given an option to take up variable shifts. Remote working options for teachers allow them to have a healthy work life balance and reduce fear of being substituted. 

  • Accommodating teachers' personal needs and schedules

Helping teachers with personal schedules so that they can take sick leaves, leaves for attending to their family or for their kids without fear of being substituted at work. 

  • Recognizing the importance of work-life balance

Helping teachers with work life balance can be especially useful for teaching staff who work for long hours and seldom have any time for themselves and their family. Coming up with a schedule that helps teachers offer assistance to cover each other's class can help. 

White Meadows is a school in West Sussex that found a way to provide 4 day work weeks and flexible working hours as well as remote working to improve work life balance amongst school teachers and cut down on employee turnover. 

9. Educational technology and gadgets 

Providing teachers with the tools to impart education is as important as education itself. Technological aids such as projectors, laptops, webcam enabled computers for taking classes and other innovative gadgets to visually present classes and lessons to students. 

  • Providing access to the latest educational technology

One of the latest ways to impart education is through online educational materials that are available with videos, images, case studies and plenty of animations that help explain concepts to students. Access to such technology can be life changing for teachers. 

  • Gifting teachers with innovative gadgets and devices

What better way to recognize teacher efforts by giving them memorable gifts that are useful for their day to day activities. Laptops with webcams, speakers, mobile projectors with screens can all be excellent gifts to teachers for their contribution to students' achievements. 

Drexel University school of education helps their teachers with important technological lessons to provide advanced education to their students. Teachers are trained using various technological gadgets and are taught to provide innovative lessons using tech products. 

10. Community involvement and partnerships

Teachers must be recognized and celebrated not only by the school management but also by the society. The people in the society are greatly and directly benefited by the teachers who impart knowledge to their children who are eventually the future of the society. 

As a community, everyone must take part in encouraging them and celebrating them for their efforts and their hard work in providing excellent education to students. Community involvement towards schools and teacher appreciation helps bring stronger relationships and sets the right precedent for students. 

  • Collaborating with businesses and organizations to provide rewards

Schools can involve the community by asking for sponsors for the teacher reward programs and help create an event that recognizes the efforts and contributions of teachers.

They can give away certificates, small gifts, tokens of appreciation or even a cash prize for all their hard work. This will inspire other teachers and help bring about a culture of growth and motivation. 

An example of community driven recognition for teachers is the association of Shell USA and National Science Teaching Association (NSTA). The community nominates a teacher that will be awarded for its exemplary service in the society by the Shell organization. 


A study revealed that the teacher retention rate has fallen from 90 percent to 69 percent from 2006 to 2020. More and more teachers are opting out because of the lack of good compensation and morale recognition for the hard work and long hours they go through. 

The study also highlighted that money was not a top priority of their reason to continue teaching as a profession. Only 8 percent of teachers chose money as a factor whereas 82 percent chose ‘a good student’. 

Teachers have the most noble jobs in the world and yet they are constantly overlooked when it comes to motivating them, appreciating them and rewarding them for their contributions.

Using these ideas we have listed, teachers must be rewarded for the great service that they do for the nation and towards our future generation by providing them with the best of opportunities, encouragement, resources and recognition that they deserve.

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