When administrators take the time to build teacher morale, it can have such a positive influence on a school community. Teachers want to feel appreciated and respected, and it is often the smallest things that have the greatest impact. Let’s be honest, teaching can be a stressful gig. Some days the grading seems endless, the stacks of papers continuous, and the expectations constantly growing.
When teachers feel appreciated, respected, and happy, they will be more productive, effective, and positive. These are the teachers we want in our classrooms.
Below are 12 ways that you can improve teacher morale in your school.
Challenge your staff to complete this free Happy Teacher Challenge by printing off the calendar and placing it in their mailboxes or classrooms. You might even include an incentive for teachers to pass in the calendar once it is complete for a treat. The tasks focus on teachers connecting with students, building staff rapport, organizing their school life, keeping themselves healthy, and helping them to focus on the positive.
Some of the challenges include:
The Happy-Teacher Challenge gives an easy, quick way to bring some joy into teachers’ lives, simply by completing one box per day.
Escape rooms are becoming increasingly popular in classrooms, but who says students have to have all the fun? Try mixing up your staff meeting or professional development by having teachers complete an educational-inspired escape room. The escape room I like to use has teachers work in groups to move their way through 5 different stations that include pedological puzzles, trivia, cryptograms and encryptions.
Of course, like in most games, there are winners and losers. What’s fun about escape rooms are the posters held up for the group photo once done– but be careful! You want to have the “You can call me Einstein” poster, not the “We wanted to lose. It builds character.” one instead. These photos would be great to print and give to staff to put in their classrooms.
The hardest day for new teachers is setting foot in a classroom for the first time without any idea of what to truly expect. What if the students hate me? What if I fail this lesson? What if I didn’t plan enough? And as the year goes on and things come up, new teachers often question how to manage a classroom, deal with behavior problems, or come up with creative, innovative ways to engage students.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Be the change and set up a mentorship program at your school that helps the new teacher and gives a veteran teacher an opportunity to share their knowledge. Set up monthly meetings where mentors and mentees can meet to have an open discussion. life.
Think of a teacher you know who might win one of these awards: The Caffeine Addict Award, The Teacher Face Award, The Teacher Techie Award, The Cheesy Jokes Award.
Hosting an end of the year or end of semester awards ceremony for teachers is an easy and effective way to build staff morale and community. They can also be used as a gift for teacher appreciation week!
If you don’t have time to make your own, I created three different sets that you can check out below.
There are so many amazing teaching professional development books to inspire teachers to step outside of their comfort zone to try something new in the classroom. Consider starting a teacher book club once every couple of months where teachers can get together to discuss a book and enjoy some food (why not make it a potluck!). If your teachers are strapped for time or overwhelmed, consider splitting up the chapters and having each teacher read one or two and share what they learned from their particular section.
If you want a full room of happy teachers, bring some yummy treats into the staff room. For teachers who need some comfort food, simple treats like brownies, cookies, and cinnamon rolls can really make them feel appreciated and brighten their day. If you’re looking for something healthier, snacks like fruit, chips and salsa, hummus and pita, or even simple single items like grapes can really be a nice pick-me-up in the day.
Appreciating each other with food is a quick, easy way to tell people that you are thinking of them and appreciating all that they are doing.
Finding ways to bring laughter to your staff is one of the simplest ways to boost morale. Consider having a teacher meme book in your staff room with funny, relatable memes about the teacher life. You might also show a funny video at staff meetings, or have a joke of the week posted in the staff room for teachers to enjoy. A lot of times, this will also teachers to bring this humor back to the classroom and spreading the joy and positivity throughout the school.
Challenge your staff to complete this free teacher bucket list before the end of a semester or school year. Some items on the list are intended to make you happy, and some of it brightens your students’ lives– which in return, makes your life even better! Taking the students outside, playing a game in class, showing students a funny video, or even leaving an inspirational quote on the board can improve the positivity not only in your classroom, but your whole school community.
Students really appreciate the little things we do for them, so take a moment to have a bonding moment and give them a high-five! This will bring more positivity into teachers’ lives as well!
Let’s face it, teachers are just plain happier on casual day. With the coordination of admin and some planning, organize some days where teachers will be permitted to wear casual clothes. Have teachers pay a dollar or two into the community jar and use that money to fund a teacher appreciation day, give back to the community, or stock up on staff coffee or treats.
Is your teacher’s lounge drab and boring? Or has it become a toxic place that teachers don’t visit? When I first started teaching, I remember receiving the advice (more than once) to avoid the teachers’ lounge. They would tell me to stay away because it was a negative environment where people only go to complain.
Of course, being a new teacher, I just smiled and nodded, but I always felt that was unfair advice to give someone starting out. If all of the positive and optimistic teachers are told to stay out of the lounge, of course it is going to be a negative place! Maya Angelou said that “What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it” and I think this is true! If you want the teachers’ lounge to be a positive space, you first have to encourage the positive staff members to go there. In order to get teachers to go there, you also have to create a space that promotes collaboration, inspiration, celebration, and humor. As a result, I created a bundle of my favorite teachers’ lounge decor and I also wrote a blog post about 10 Ideas to Make Your Teachers’ Lounge a More Positive Place that you’ll want to check out.
Share the amazing things that teachers are doing in your school with a quarterly newsletter. The newsletter might include fun lessons, field trips, successes, extra-curricular activities, or even a teacher spotlight. This newsletter may not only be good for other teachers, but also for the community as a whole. Students, parents, and others love seeing teachers doing more than merely their job and this newsletter could give them a little light into our lives.
Being able to leave school and breathe can do the soul some good. Once per month, plan an out-of-school outing endless where staff can leave the stress of the classroom behind and just enjoy each other’s company. This doesn’t have to be expensive! Find a cheap happy hour, do an art/ DIY project, or even just hang out in the same room without grading, planning, and rushing around. Take a moment to enjoy your coworkers.
The morale of teachers dictates the atmosphere of a school. I hope you will be able to use these ideas as a way to bring some more positivity to your school and motivate, encourage, and support the educators in your building.
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