A Little Thank You Goes a Long Way!
I don’t think that other teachers realize just how much works goes into putting together a grade-level music concert. You have to do lots of planning in advance, create props, figure out speaking parts, rehearse music over and over, prepare programs to hand out, work on publicity, send home notes, and on and on and on. It’s a very difficult business and can add a ton of stress to even the most planned-out and prepared teacher. We might be able to orchestrate the whole process (pun intended) but it’s very difficult for us to pull everything off on own. We need lots of help along the way from that giving PTA member who is willing to come in on a weekend and help paint sets to the general ed teacher who will answer questions and run interference with parents.
Often when you’re in the moment and overtaken by “concert brain” it’s easy to forget all the folks that have done SO MUCH to make your concert a reality. People are happy to help and take on some of the burden because they want to see you and the kids at your very best. One of the things that I try to do throughout the process is write down on a notepad the names of all the people who helped along the way. Then, when the concert is over and I’ve had a chance to breathe I can take a moment to thank them for their help and gifts of time and energy.
Getting Your Materials Together
After every concert I know that I’m going to send out a little thank you note to my helpers, so whenever I’m out at Target or Meijer (The Michigan Target) I check the greeting card aisle and look for thank you card sets. Often at the end of a season you can find boxes of thank you cards on sale that are PERFECT for our purposes. I especially love to find “baby shower” thank you’s as they have images that are very “elementary school.” Another great find is after Graduation season you can often find thank you notes super SUPER cheap that say 2016 on the front. Perfect for your fall concert next school year! Often in my “post-Christmas” shopping I’ll buy some Santa themed or snow themed cards (they can even be blank on the inside) that I store away with Christmas decorations to use for the NEXT year after my holiday shows.
I also make sure to buy a bag of those Dove “Promise” chocolates (you know, the ones with the little encouraging quote printed inside the wrapper). I take the chocolate and put some tape on the back so that I can stick it on my thank you cards as a little edible “postage stamp.” Teachers love this! You really don’t have to buy them all gift cards or bake cookies (though that would be nice too). A little chocolate like attached to a heartfelt note really goes a long way.
Thank You! – What I Write in the Letter
I try to write out a quick and sincere little thank you to all the people who have helped along the way. To classroom teachers I thank them for helping kids with lines, sending home notes, and anything else they did to support the process. I mention how great the kids looked and sounded and thank them for all that they do. With secretaries I thank them for helping with copies, fielding phone calls from parents, sending out notes, and anything else they do that is concert or even just music program related.
I make sure to thank the other specials teachers (art, P.E., library, technology, etc) for helping with grade-level practices, giving up time for rehearsals, and for everything else they do! Administrators I thank for their support, ideas, and encouragement. I also make sure to thank janitors for helping with chairs or wiping down the gym floor. Janitors are arguably the most important people in your building, so you should do ALL that you can to craft a great relationship with them!
Have a parent or two who has gone above and beyond, they can use a thank you as well! Or maybe there have been some students who have come in during their recess time to help with costumes or fold programs, they too could use a little thank you (or for them, you could even just do chocolate).It doesn’t take a lot of writing or time, but a little letter like this can really be a game changer. You’d be surprised how many times I have teachers thanking me for sending a thank you. Acknowledging people for their true and sincere gifts of time and support can really help to build relationships.