By: Matt Coppess

Before you begin thanking teachers, administrators, security guards, and lunch ladies, ask yourself this question, "How well do you know them?"  Do you know that the head security guard's son just left the Army and was K9 military policeman and after 2 tours in Iraq is fighting to keep his dog? Do you know that the chemistry teacher just had twins after struggling for years to become pregnant?  Do you know the principal loves to shoot, hunt, and fish and it's the one thing he and his son, a freshman, do together?  Do you know that the lunch lady's eldest grandson is struggling with cutting? More importantly did you hear these stories from the individual adults themselves or through the proverbial "grapevine?"  The adults at our school each have stories, hurts, hopes, and dreams, just like our students do.  We need to be about learning their stories as well.

So have you listened to the security guard?  Have you congratulated the chemistry teacher and gushed over pictures of her twins, or better yet the twins themselves?  Have you taken the principal and his son shooting sporting clays?  Have you prayed with the lunch lady? These actions are more than a thank you, they communicate that you deeply care not just for own agenda, but each individual at the school, regardless of age.  I would argue that building relationships like this with adults is the best way to say "Thank You."  You are constantly communicating that you care.

Having said that, communicating "Thank you" in more concrete ways is also extremely important.   Campus Life teams across the country have done this in different ways doing everything from hosting a teacher appreciation breakfast before school, to presenting each teacher with a rose on a given day. Brainstorm with your student leaders and staff to develop a plan that fits your team, school, and budget.  A project like this might also prove to be an excellent way to include parents in an event.  Single out teachers and staff who specifically help Campus Life by serving as the "official club sponsor" or who let you use their classroom for student leadership, or anything else.  Informally, each week I always share extra pizza or donuts with staff, trying not to hit the same people each time. I certainly don't need the leftovers anyway.

Showing how much we appreciate the staff and school goes a long way to alleviate any fears about why we are on campus and builds credibility not only for ourselves but for the Gospel as well.

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