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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Boosting Teacher Morale

At work teachers were discussing how to boost morale in the workplace.  So a quick Google search and 6 articles later, I realized that there was a huge discrepancy in what types of morale boosters were targeted at teachers versus the booster for non-teachers.  And some of the ideas on both sides are so unrealistic.  So I decided to go to the source, and I asked several teachers I know who teach in different parts of the country and who teach different grade levels, "What does your school/principal do to boost or maintain morale?"

And teachers tell you how it is (teacher to teacher anyway).  Some responded with simply, "nothing," while others sent lengthy descriptions of the extravagant ways they are shown they are appreciated, and how much they appreciated their leaders.

Would you like to see the list?

(Not yet ... almost)

I want to forewarn you that a large majority of responses included food and jeans passes.  At one point I told a teacher-friend that I never realized how much teachers are like wild animals/toddlers/teens  .... It seems like people just throw food at us to try to keep us happy.

So really here is the list:

  • drink cart delivers drinks to teachers with sodas and additives to make flavored drinks
  • brought in a food truck to cater lunch (without telling us ahead of time)
  • once a month candy with catchy notes in mailboxes
  • starbucks coffee with all the fixings in the office - or hot chocolate on cold mornings
  • our favorite sonic drinks sitting on tables for us at staff meetings
  • occasionally principals take a teacher's duty
  • ice cream floats delivered to teachers
  • family appreciation picnic at local park (catered bbq, games for the kids, music, etc)
  • something small monthly
  • boo grams
  • hid baby pumpkins around the school - if you found a pumpkin you got a prize
  • jean days
  • nothing bundt cakes
  • chik-fil-a
  • donuts
  • split into teams and have games to compete against one another - team that wins at the end of the semester goes to the movies together and lunch out
  • encourages to take 1-2 minute brain breaks and play games with the kids
  • potlucks every 6 weeks
  • they really try to honor our time
  • treats for teachers every month
  • always giving jeans passes
  • have scavenger hunts
  • we really feel supported and if there is a problem they are very opened to helping
  • really encourage family first
  • encourage us not to work late
  • honor out planning time and have committed to not holding meetings Tuesdays or Thrusdays so we can plan as a team
  • ARDs are held only on certain days unless it can't be avoided
  • birthdays are a big deal - (half birthdays for summer birthdays)
  • give a full hour lunch by having someone cover their extra 30 minutes
  • random emails genuinely saying thank you
  • weekly newsletter with staff shout outs
  • encouraging teachers to take off when they are sick
  • team ran a marathon together and socialized afterwards
  • principals bought space heaters for everyone when heat went out
  • jeans for yor birthday
  • different themed lunches or snacks one or twice a month in the lounge
  • presents begiiinnng, middle and end of each year
  • root beer floats
  • parents bring entire staff meals
  • entire week of jeans
  • recognizes any accomplishments from the previous week
  • we all eat lunch together
  • principals come by to see the cool stuff we are doing in the classroom - but not to grade us- just to be aware of what is going on
  • assistant principal had scheduled meeting with individual teacher to see how out year is going
  • Christmas bonus!
  • once when it was pouring rain the principals walked us in with giant umbrellas
  • they treat us like we are human
  • they surprise us
  • they understand when we are stressed
  • they bring in a massage therapist
  • they cater breakfast or lunch
  • we get t shirts
  • teacher of the month eats at the steak house
  • pats on the back
  • we are a family - we do not require a morale boost (** this should be everyone's goal)
  • each week the principal passes a statue of our school mascot and praises a teacher in his weekly newsletter
  • random jeans days
  • assistant principal does walk throughs and leaves us nice notes
  • our principals don't talk down to us.

What I think it boils down to is we want to feel appreciated, truly appreciated.  

We want leaders not bosses.

And I think teachers should take these matters into their own hands.  Make open-ended questions and have teachers tell you what they would like for a pick me up when they are stressed or overwhelmed or have helped a fellow teacher out.  Make the answers available to everyone, so anyone can take the opportunity to brighten someone else's day.

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