Sunday, 8 May 2016

Boosting staff morale in your school

Often, staff rapport in schools can be neglected due to short breaks and busy schedules. Sometimes teachers are too busy trying to get everything done that thinking about their well-being is not on their agenda. However, happier teachers lead to happier schools. Here are some suggestions of how to create a more positive atmosphere amongst staff.

Sign up for a free health and well-being seminar
Irish teachers, check out the free seminars on Teachers can sign up for these courses at their local education centre free of charge. For those of you who can't attend, the PDST has also shared the booklets that accompany these workshops.

Make a compliment box for your staff room
This is a lovely thing to do with the children in your class but it also works really well with staff. I set up a compliment box in our staff room last year and it worked a treat. Here's how to do it:
1. Get an old box, stick a "Compliment Box" label on it and write some ideas of sentence starters on it like "Remember that time when...." "I really like how you..." "I admire the way you..."
2.Put envelopes (one for each staff member) in the box along with slips of paper, markers, pens, pencils and scissors.
3. Send an email with instructions that the box will be in the staff room the following Monday for a week. They can write compliments for as many staff as they like. Under no circumstances is anybody allowed to read what is already in somebody else's envelope. 
4. On Friday afternoon, seal the envelopes and deliver them to the teachers.
Lots of people came to me last year and said that it really gave them a lift. The things that were written in the envelopes were a mixture of heartfelt messages from close colleagues, surprise compliments from mystery staff members and some silly memories and jokes thrown in for good measure.

Try this 30 day happy teacher challenge from Presto Plans
Hop over to the blog to download this printable for free. It includes things to minimise your own stress levels and to be nice to your colleagues! 

Made by Presto Plans
Make a staff meeting more sociable: Let them eat cake!
Ask staff to bring in some treats to share on an INSET day or just before a staff meeting and spend 20 minutes indulging and having a chat. The sugar hit can really cheer people up, particularly if the meeting is at the end of a school day.

Count down:
In my school we sometimes put countdowns on the board in the staff room - usually to the next long weekend / holiday! Currently there's a "... days until the next Game of Thrones" episode. It's very satisfying watching the numbers get lower and lower and can be a good starting point for conversations between staff who don't know each other very well.
image source
Share those memes!
Did you see a blog post / meme about teaching that gave you a laugh? Why not print it off and stick it on the staff board? Somebody else might appreciate it!
image source: Buzzfeed

And remember... don't just think it, say it!
Did you just walk past a beautiful display of children's work? Turn back and tell the teacher (and students) what you think of it. Did you hear a student say something positive about what they were doing in class? Tell the teacher how enthusiastic they were. 

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