How to Write a Teacher Appreciation Speech
Like those in other professions, teachers feel valued when their accomplishments and successes are highlighted. Yet, teachers may receive little praise for the work they put in. A speech provides a good platform to display gratitude and make teachers feel appreciated. To ensure that the speech leaves the educator feeling honored -- and that the audience registers the message -- provide plenty of detail. Speech preparation requires thought and planning to help convey the right message.
1 Recognizing the Individual
Identify why the educator warrants appreciation. Start with a list of what prompted your gratitude. Mention specific teaching styles that set the educator apart such as "utilizes hands-on activities" or "engages students with interactive lectures." Think about the teacher's personality traits also, adding those to the speech. For example, an educator who uses interactive lessons may enhance her lectures with humor. List accomplishments the teacher achieved during her career, as these also reflect how she has touched the community.
2 Gather Compelling Quotes
Quotes from students, parents or other teachers can provide an extra dynamic to a speech. When finding sources, avoid individuals who have not worked directly with the teacher as either a student, faculty member or parent of a student. Ask questions relating to their personal experiences with the teacher. Bring a recorder or pen and paper to write down direct quotes and ask permission before adding the quotes or paraphrases to the speech. When composing the speech, select two or three favorite quotes and give full credit to who made the statements. For example, a parent may note: "Teacher Smith really turned my student around with her passion. My son initially hated reading; now he devours every book he can find." This kind of quote really brings the teacher's accomplishments to life.
3 Bring Everything Together in Writing
Picture the audience, or even place yourself in the audience. Consider the best way to capture their attention. Using a humorous story or a synopsis of the honoree may help. For example, you might relate a story about a time when the teacher struggled to carry bags of supplies -- despite a driving rain -- into the classroom for a holiday party. When you sit down to write, have testimonials and a list of qualities at hand as a reference. Decide which thoughts or qualities work best to promote the educator, and focus on those. The conclusion of the speech should reiterate what you believe best illuminates the educator's success. Give the audience a sense of finality and leave listeners with a positive image of the educator.
4 Practice and Redraft
Toastmasters International suggests reading a speech out loud once written, recording yourself if possible. Remember to pace yourself. This can ensure achievement of the desired tone and provide you with an idea of the length. Aim to make an impression in a timely manner. Don't wait too long to highlight the teacher's accomplishments or relate a story -- poignant or funny -- that illustrate the teacher's passion for his craft. Listen for grammar, structure and fluency while checking organization of the speech. Do not worry about the number of times you have to revisit the writing desk. The audience will register your confidence and respond to it.