By Teachers, For Teachers
Teacher morale is a topic that is getting a lot of attention these days. Administrators are recognizing the value of keeping teacher morale high so they are looking to find ways to fill their buildings full of happy and enthusiastic teachers. You may wonder why school districts are struggling to maintain happy teachers. Simply put, they are stressed out. There is the constant stress of meeting educational standards, dealing with unruly students, and then there’s the school climate that can all weigh on a teacher’s shoulders. All of these stressors can keep teachers from maintaining a positive attitude in their work environment. Luckily, there are a few effective strategies that school administrators can put into place to help improve teacher morale so they will feel supported and motivated to do their jobs effectively.
Teachers are oftentimes under-recognized, and one of the best ways to show them that they matter is to acknowledge them for their achievements. This can be something as simple as the principal taking the time to visit the classroom and telling the teacher “Good job,” or something as elaborate as giving thanks during the morning announcements for all to hear. Another unique idea that one particular school district does to show appreciation for their teachers is to create a “Tree of Thanks” bulletin board in the teachers’ lounge. Anytime anyone would like to thank another teacher for something they may have done (big or small), they write it on a leaf and attach it to the tree. It’s a clever way to show appreciation for even the smallest things: Anytime the opportunity presents itself is a great time to brag about how well the teachers are doing.
In today’s classrooms, it’s very common for teachers to differentiate instruction to ensure they are meeting all of their student’s needs. However, this takes time and patience, and many teachers find themselves feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. A great way to keep up the teacher morale is to encourage teachers to work together to plan these lessons and activities. Show educators that you support them by providing them with opportunities for them to work together. Plan staff meetings that provide teachers with effective strategies on how to work together as well as how to share lesson plans. Give them the tips and encouragement they need to feel inspired, and show them that this can be an attainable method of learning.
Every teacher wants to be heard and have their opinion validated. So the best thing for a school administrator to do to improve teacher morale is to just listen. Ask teachers for their opinions, then sit down and listen to them and value everything that they have to say. By doing so, you are providing them the professional support they need to be an effective educator.
In today’s economy, many companies are finding new and innovative ways to improve employee morale. Just look at Google, this company is known for their elaborate employee perks like snack stands and game rooms. They did this because they wanted to show their employees that they value them by creating ways for them to de-stress. Administrators too can show their employees they value them by planning events for their teachers, such as after-school baseball games, cookie swaps, or Olympic events that pin two schools against each other to compete. Potluck breakfasts or luncheons in the teachers’ lounge, or special Friday dinners each month, are other ways to improve teacher morale. Any opportunity to get the teachers to together and show them that they are valued will help them de-stress and boost their morale.
Team-building exercises are a great way to boost morale, so much so that research has shown that when school districts incorporate these types of strategies into their school environment, it raises teacher morale and creates a sense of community within the school. Provide opportunities for teachers to get to know their colleagues better by playing team-building games. Just look at the company Wegman’s Food Markets. This company is ranked as one of the best companies to work for in New York State, and they are well known for their team building exercises they conduct each morning before they send their employees off to work. When teachers work together, it can be very rewarding, and it can help to boost teacher morale.
Administrators need to remember that the teachers’ working conditions are the students’ learning conditions. Maintaining a positive school environment where all teachers feel valued will create a happier work place for the teachers, as well as a place where the students feel valued and supported, as well.
How do you boost teacher morale? Please share your tips and thoughts on this topic in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you have to say.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.