Teachers belong to one of the most underappreciated (and underpaid) professions. Other educators, like college professors, don’t get the recognition they deserve, either — but you can change that. Your institution can recognize teachers’ valuable contributions by giving the best awards to the best educators.
Those who work in academics know that it’s an often thankless, draining job. By incorporating teacher appreciation awards, you can let your staff know how valued and esteemed they are. Use this guide to teachers’ awards ideas to kick off the new year with plenty of teacher recognition.
The Need for More High-Quality Teacher Recognition Awards
Teaching is considered to be a public service — and for good reason. Educators are raising the next generation of intellectuals who will pave the way for a better society for all of us.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many types of awards in education that fully recognize teachers’ hard work and dedication. Many institutions hand out generic teacher plaques and other standard teacher awards. You can step up your game with EDCO’s high-quality scholastic awards, education trophies, and unique plaques for teachers.
Top 15 Teacher Appreciation Award Ideas
Teacher appreciation is all about highlighting each educator’s strengths and gifts to the world. Positive change starts with one student at a time, and your institution’s teachers are no doubt contributing to that. No matter what role your team members play in shaping future minds, they’re always important. Use these 15 teacher appreciation award ideas to recognize the timeless, priceless value of your academic staff members.
1. Teacher of the Year Award
This one is a timeless classic that never fails to put a smile on the recipient’s face. Teacher of the Year is an annual honor awarded to the best, most dedicated educator on your team. Recipients of the Teacher of the Year Award are thoughtful and perseverant, spending countless hours improving their classrooms and lesson plans for students.
- “Way to go! Congratulations on being the best teacher at (school name) this year.”
- “We proudly present you with (school name)’s esteemed Teacher of the Year Award. Thanks for all that you do!”
- “Your amazing achievements inside and outside of the classroom this year blew us away. Please accept (school name)’s Teacher of the Year Award!”
- “Thanks for going above and beyond to shape the minds of future generations. Congratulations on winning Teacher of the Year!”
- “(School name) presents you with Teacher of the Year, a prestige and honor for teachers everywhere. Congratulations!”
These are just a few heartfelt inscription ideas you can incorporate into this prestigious award for teachers. Whatever you end up going with, always include the recipient’s name (for example, “Mrs. Smith” or “Mr. Johnson”) and the year of receipt along with it.
2. Helping Hand Award
Do you know a teacher who is always going out of their way to help others on their team? This award is for them. The Helping Hand Award celebrates teachers’ benevolence, charity, and selflessness throughout the school year.
We recommend ordering a custom-shaped EDCO award for this one. You can get a handshake symbol to represent the literal helping hand that this teacher offers to others. We also have diamond and heart-shaped awards, which could add to this award’s honor and prestige.
- “You’re always lending a helping hand to others. Now it’s your turn to accept this award!”
- “Accept our warmest thanks for your benevolent spirit and charitable actions this school year.”
- “Way to go! Thanks for always being a helping hand, both inside and outside of your classroom.”
- “(School name) presents you with the Helping Hand Award. Thanks for always helping out a friend in need!”
- “You ensure your students and coworkers always have what they need. Thanks for always lending a helping hand!”
Feel free to include a play on words, but make sure your inscription is warm and caring. After all, this recipient is always taking care of everyone else. It’s time for this teacher to receive recognition for a change.
3. Mr./Mrs. Bean Award
Coffee is a staple for teachers everywhere. Sometimes labeled “teacher fuel,” coffee and other caffeinated beverages help teachers power through difficult and tired times in their classrooms. Choose the staff member who always has a fresh cup of joe in hand and present them with the Mr./Mrs. Bean Award. This honor celebrates the recipient’s dedication to getting their caffeine fix every morning — and afternoon.
For this gift, we recommend ordering a bean-shaped symbol or similar trophy-style award. Java beans are the universal symbol for delicious coffee drinks, after all.
Trophy engraving suggestions:
- “You’re always caffeinated and ready to go!”
- “Congratulations on your dedication to caffeine. You’re our local Mr./Mrs. Bean!”
- “You take your morning brew seriously. Congratulations on officially winning the title!”
You can also order a custom EDCO mug with this title, which would be perfect and fitting for the category. For iced coffee lovers, choose one of our engraved tumblers instead. You want the recipient to understand that you see their love and passion for coffee. What better way to do so than by offering a new vessel for them to enjoy it from?
Highlight this teacher’s preference for either hot or iced coffee and present it with a gift card to a local coffee shop for some extra “oomph.” Mr. or Mrs. Bean won’t forget these thoughtful gestures.
4. Pinterest-Perfect Classroom Award
Have you ever walked into a teacher’s classroom and taken a step back in awe of their decorating skills? Many teachers seamlessly combine color schemes, educational posters, and student artwork to make the perfect educational sanctuary for students. This teacher deserves the Pinterest-Perfect Classroom Award.
This award recognizes your team members’ interior decorating skills. Their creativity and hard work should not go unnoticed. For this honor, consider an aesthetic option like one of our glass or crystal awards. These options will fit in well with the rest of their decor or in their home, which is surely Pinterest-perfect, too.
Cheeky engraving suggestions:
- “Your classroom came straight from the most aesthetic Pinterest board. We appreciate you!”
- “We see your hard work and interior decorating skills on full display. Keep doing what you do!”
- “Students and staff alike appreciate your commitment to an aesthetic and picture-perfect classroom. Well done!”
- “It’s like your classroom jumped right off the Pinterest page we were just browsing! Keep up your great decorating work.”
These inscriptions are lighthearted while still conveying your appreciation for this teacher’s eye for detail. When the classroom looks great, it becomes a productive and nurturing environment for students and staff alike.
5. Tidy Tim/Tina Award
This teacher recognition award goes to the educator with the cleanest classroom in the building. They have a great eye for detail, and not one speck of dust can settle in their room.
Tidy Tim or Tina takes care of student spaces by keeping everything disinfected and sparkling clean. During seasons of cold, flu, and other nasty illnesses, this classroom cleaning guru helps prevent bugs from spreading. When students feel well, they can focus on what matters most: their education.
You have many options for the Tiny Tim/Tina Award. Consider presenting this honor as a plaque that will fit neatly on this teacher’s wall. After all, they can’t stand clutter.Other award options include crystal awards, which have a naturally clean-looking and sparkly aesthetic, and trophies with custom shapes on top. You can order almost any shape you desire, including a broom and dustpan, a sponge, or other cleaning supply symbols.
- “Your classroom is always spotless. Thank you for the hard work you put in!”
- “Thanks for maintaining clean, safe student spaces. We appreciate you!”
- “Dust and clutter are no match for you. Thanks for always maintaining a super-clean classroom!”
- “Congratulations on keeping the tidiest classroom in the building. We see you!”
These inscriptions will drive home your institution’s appreciation for this teacher’s contribution to the health and safety of students and staff. It’s always nice to be in a neat and clean space, and this educator has cleanliness down to a science.
6. Subject Mastery Award
Do you know someone who’s the go-to educator on staff for a certain subject? Whether it’s a science teacher, social studies maestro, or another subject guru, this award is for them. The Subject Mastery Award represents a commitment to lifelong learning and mastery of new topics in each related field.
Our Mastery Crystal Award is perfect for this honor. The Crystal Book Award is another great option. The gleaming edges and clear, sparkly hues communicate a prestige that this educator certainly deserves. The prestigious award’s excellent quality and aesthetic appeal match the honor that the recipient has brought to your institution through their mastery of their subject matter.
We recommend gifting this award to a teacher who has recently completed another step in their higher education, such as a master’s degree, additional training and certifications, or other on-file accomplishments. They’ll feel even more confident and proud of their journey after receiving this award.
Keep the inscriptions serious and straightforward for this honor. Since you’re communicating the excellence of this instructor in their chosen subject, you want to make sure they know you take their education and unique skill set seriously.
- “Your mastery of (subject) is truly impressive. Congratulations on this next step forward in your career!”
- “We honor you as you progress in your educational journey. Congratulations on your thorough mastery of (subject).”
- “Your knowledge and skills bring honor to our institution. Please accept this recognition of your complete mastery of (subject).”
- “We see the hard work and dedication you’ve had toward (subject). Accept our congratulations on your mastery of the field!”
The more heartfelt and personalized the inscription is, the more serious your recipient will take the award. You can customize it however you’d like so that it best represents the recipient’s personality and professional achievements.
7. After-Hours Award
Excellent teachers often put in many unpaid hours. The After-Hours Award celebrates the professional on your team who is always staying late and arriving early. They may be up all hours of the night perfecting lesson plans, making crafts, and improving their classroom.
Our Rosewood Book Clock Award fits the bill perfectly. The clock on one side communicates that you recognize the time this individual puts into their career. On the other side, you can add personalized and heartfelt inscriptions to convey your sincere appreciation.
Make sure you acknowledge that these extra hours are not required and are doubly appreciated by other team members. Avoid cultivating a competitive culture of comparison among teachers, though, as they all work very hard. Instead, highlight this educator’s unique dedication to after-hours development.
- “On and off the clock, you’re always working hard to make your classroom a better place. We see and appreciate all that you do!”
- “Your students reap the benefits of all your hard work after hours. We appreciate your dedication to your craft!”
- “You don’t have to stay late, wake up early, and put in extra hours, but you do. Thank you for everything you commit to our institution!”
- “We notice you often stay late to get things done. We couldn’t appreciate you more!”
- “Please accept our sincere gratitude for your commitment to students, both on and off the clock.”
These inscriptions clearly highlight this individual’s knack for going above and beyond in the classroom, even when it’s empty. Don’t forget to verbally thank them for their hard work, too.
8. Heart of the School Award
Everyone knows a teacher who has the biggest heart of gold they’ve ever witnessed. This instructor deserves the Heart of the School Award. Celebrating teachers who keep the central heart of your institution beating, this award gives back to those who are always extending their own compassion outward.
Gift the Artful Heart of Life Crystal from EDCO to showcase your appreciation for this teacher’s kindness. The heart shape conveys how much empathy and warmth this individual gives freely to others. This award is timeless and can sit on a shelf for years to come, giving the recipient pride and joy when looking at it.
- “You have a heart of gold. Let us repay you by giving you this heartfelt award!”
- “We recognize and appreciate your big heart and kindness. Please accept this award for being the heart of our school!”
- “Much like the human heart, you keep us going in times of trouble. Thanks for being the heart of our school!”
- “You deserve to receive the compassion you’ve given to others. Please accept our Heart of the School Award.”
- “You’ve won our hearts for a long time now. Congratulations on winning the Heart of the School!”
These engravings are perfect for contributing to the love and warmth this teacher regularly displays to others.
9. Bookworm Award
Do you know a teacher who always has an open book in hand? Chances are that in a school full of educators, at least one is especially passionate about reading and literacy. No matter what subject they teach, this instructor deserves the Bookworm Award.
Our Open Book Crystal Award fits perfectly with this honorable title, recognizing the thousands of words the recipient has consumed. This stunning award has engraving potential for both pages, allowing for longer and more customized messages. You can appeal to this teacher’s unique personality this way.
There are plenty of plays on words when it comes to reading and storytelling. Allow your imagination to run wild and use these inscription ideas for inspiration.
- “You’re always lost in the wonderland that books provide for your mind. Congratulations on being (school name)’s biggest bookworm!”
- “Reading inspires, teaches, and progresses. Thanks for sharing your favorites with us!”
- “‘Bookworm (noun): A person devoted to reading.’ That’s you!”
Students will see this teacher reading and become inspired to dive into their own stories. When it comes to awards for teachers, this is one of the most unique and important ideas.
10. Apple of Our Eye Award
Apples are a universal symbol representing education in general and the teaching profession in particular. The Apple of Our Eye Award goes to the teacher who receives the most kind words and positive recognition from the school as a whole. Maybe this educator gets great parent reviews or consistently meets their professional development goals. Whatever areas they excel in, this recipient deserves to know that they’re the apple of your institution’s eye.
- “You are the apple of our eye. Thanks for being amazing!”
- “Parents, students, and other teachers recognize your excellence. Thanks for being the apple of our eye!”
- “You’re one of the greatest educators we know. Thanks for being the apple of our eye!”
- “Your dedication and kindness don’t go unnoticed. You truly are the apple of our eye!”
It’s best to formulate qualifiers that explain what being the “apple of our eye” really means. This is why using positive adjectives makes such a difference when presenting this award.
We have a few different apple awards to choose from at EDCO. Our Crystal Apple Award options include:
- Contemporary Crystal Apple Award
- Classic Crystal Apple Award
- Crystal Apple Award
- Clear Crystal Apple Award
Pick the one that best matches the recipient’s desired aesthetic, personality, or institutional theme. These crystal apple awards from EDCO also make great Teacher of the Year Awards.
11. Professional Leadership in Education Award
Educators are constantly refining their existing professional skills and developing new ones. The Professional Leadership Award goes to the teacher who is most dedicated to honing their professionalism. They may offer to lead meetings, offer up new and exciting ideas for institutional improvement, and more.
Our Leadership Crystal Circle Award is designed specifically for this type of employee recognition. The leadership the recipient has displayed has made your institution better and inspired others to develop professionally as well. Call out these achievements with this prestigious, professional-looking award.
- “Thank you for always leading the way in professional and personal development.”
- “You’re a leader on our team, and we’re so thankful for you. Keep up the great work!”
- “Without you as a leader, our team wouldn’t be the same. Thank you for your excellence and hard work!”
- “Leadership is about integrity and perseverance. You have these qualities and many more. Thanks for all that you do for our team!”
By presenting leadership awards, you inspire other team members to pitch in and improve, too. This way, everyone can reap the benefits of internal leadership and professional development.
12. You’re a Star Award
This award works best for teachers who use a gold-star system in their classrooms. Consider it a professional excellence award with a relevant thematic twist. Gold stars have traditionally been used to rank student behavior over time, so it only makes sense to dedicate a teacher appreciation award to them.
The You’re a Star Award is for teachers and other educators who have displayed true excellence this year. Maybe they’ve accomplished a lot personally and professionally, and you want to recognize their excellence. For this honor, our Academic Star Award fits best.
The bottom of this award has engraving options for adjectives that describe the recipient. Some ideas include:
Use these descriptors to make the recipient feel special and appreciated for their hard work this year.
13. Retirement Recognition Award
At some point, every teacher will reach the end of their career. You can help them make this important life transition with grace by honoring their lifetime of professional contributions with a special gift or award.
If you’re looking for unique retirement gifts for teachers, look no further than the Retirement Recognition Award. Our Global Celebration Award fits the bill for a classy, timeless retirement recognition piece. With simple inscription options for the bottom, you can include the retiring teacher’s name and years of service.
If you want to add a personalized message, it might be best to opt for an award with a larger base for inscriptions. Our Atlanna Wings Art Crystal award works well for this purpose. You have more room to customize your message and express your heartfelt thoughts as an institution.
14. Years of Service in Education Award
Educators usually spend decades teaching and inspiring young students. The Years of Service in Education Award calls attention to the number of years they’ve spent refining their skills. Over time, they’ve touched many hearts and minds. Now, it’s your turn to recognize them for all that they’ve done.
Our Jade Glass Book Award has a nice aesthetic for celebrating years of service in education. The book conveys a symbolic representation of knowledge and education, which are at the forefront of this employee’s career. Formulate a personal inscription that thanks them for their years of service.
15. Teacher Hall of Fame Award
If your school doesn’t have a teacher’s Hall of Fame, now is the time to implement one. Our Honorary Diamond Crystal awards solidify each teacher’s spot in this honorable collection. Teachers who go above and beyond to achieve excellent student outcomes deserve a spot in your school’s Teacher Hall of Fame.
It’s best to make each Hall of Fame award uniform and to keep them in a locked glass display cabinet. This way, students and visitors alike can recognize and appreciate the wonderful talents of your institution’s educators.
Include the following as part of each inscription:
- Teacher’s name
- Years of service at the time of induction
- A brief blurb about achievements and exceptional qualities
This information is all you need to kick-start your institution’s Teacher Hall of Fame!
Shop EDCO: Best Awards for Teachers
With over 50 years in business, the team at EDCO understands what it takes to produce excellent teacher appreciation awards. Our highly-rated practices come through for you every time. With free shipping and engraving options, you’ll never run out of unique and fun ideas.
Get started with your institution’s teacher appreciation awards by placing an order with EDCO. We thank all teachers for their hard work and public service.