Morale boosters

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by leighbball, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Jan 24, 2006

    The staff at my school has such low morale right now...its really a shame. Things have ben very difficult and stressful lately. Does anyone have any ideas on a way to boost morale? Our social committee is throwing a breakfast for the day after conferences, but we're looking for other ideas too. Unfortunately, no one really wants to do much of anything right now:-( Sigh...
     
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  3. wdwteach

    wdwteach Cohort

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    Jan 24, 2006

    I have just arrived at the forum to post my question that is very similar to yours. I am mentoring new teachers and we had a meeting today. I heard them in the hall whining about having to attend another meeting. For new teachers, they are extremely negative. I am planning next month's meeting myself and I plan to address professionalism. I think it is the BIG QUESTION. How do you motivate tired, overworked teachers? How do you get people to be more positive?
    Our social committee plans a potluck lunch every month. January's theme was soup and sandwiches. People are already asking when we are going to do it again. I guess food is one small way to raise moral.
     
  4. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jan 24, 2006

    Maintaining high moral is a big issue for everyone. Usually one person needs to take this on a part of their job. A supervisor needs to buy into this, so that some funds can be used to pay for incentives.

    1. Meetings. A meeting needs to be beneficial to all attending. The best meetings I have attended were ones that had a regular agenda, and included input from each person and/or department. Here is what our agenda might look like:

    Opening check in--each person/department would provide a one sentence summary of (something the chair had chosen, like how did you spend your vacation, what is your maiden name, etc.O

    Announcements--Center business to be discussed (like how about opening one hour earilier, etc.)

    Topic of the month (usually a mini training, like how to add sign language to the curriculum)

    Sharing--each person/department would have 2-5 minutes to describe anything going on in their area that they felt like sharing.
     
  5. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jan 24, 2006

    here is the rest of my posting--------

    closing--planned motivational message. We used a basket of postive motivation affirmations in many ways.

    2. Chairing meetings. We rotated chairing, so that everyone had an opportunity to lead, and everyone had an opportunity to learn how hard it was. (by having the same agenda each time, it was easier to chair.)
     
  6. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jan 24, 2006

    and here is more. Sorry, I am on my laptop, and it has a mind of it's own.

    3. Food at meeting. YES, food gives many messages, and one of them is, "you are important enough to need food." Even if it is coffee and cookies, food conveys a message.

    4. Large meetings--we might adjust the agenda, due to the time some items take. But, we make it fun, have door prizes, and have trainings with lots of prizes for correct answers and participation.
     
  7. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jan 24, 2006

    Boosting moral during the month can be as easy as catching the teacher doing something good.

    I always give out thank yous and cards for important events. Never miss a birthday--even if it is just a card. I have little note cards that I use for other situations. If you see a good activity, give the teacher a note, or a chocolate kiss. When you see a teacher has had a bad day, give her a chocolate hug. (Guess you better get a bag of hugs and kisses.)
    I have seen trees of thank yous that parents have written and posted in the hallway of the center.
    Create a "This is What I like About You" poster for each person. At a staff meeting, have all the other staff write on the poster what they like about that teacher.

    Have meetings that are bonding. I like to have a training about personality styles, with active participation by the staff. When they learn about each other, better team building results.

    Hope these ideas help.
     
  8. sarahmsmith

    sarahmsmith Rookie

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    Jan 27, 2006

    Do you have a RESA available where you teach? Try a team-building activity. It really is fun, helps you connect with each other and is a real stress reliever, confidence builder.
     
  9. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jan 28, 2006

    We are having a "Secret Friend" for the week before Valentine's Day...little notes and treats in our mailboxes may help cure the "blahs" all of us are feeling right about now.
     
  10. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Jan 28, 2006

    Blue I liked your list. It sounds a lot like the school I worked at last yr. This yrs school is so different. At the school last yr we had a sign up sheet in the teachers lunch room for TGI(almost)F treats. Every other Thursday a two teachers to four teachers would sign up as a group and bring in breakfast treats. Everyone would meet and there and laughing and munching.
    The principal had monthly meetings with the teachers. The paras did not attend these. But we had our own meetings with him. He would check in with us and make sure everything was going ok. Miss that.
    Well I'm off track sorry everyone.
     
  11. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 28, 2006

    Our principal brings in Dunkin Donuts and Entenmann's coffee cakes about 3 times a week for all of us.
     
  12. allisonbeth

    allisonbeth Comrade

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    Jan 28, 2006

    I have found that the biggest moral booster is having time to communicate. Administration needs to be in the hallways/classroom saying, "hi" and indicating that everyone is important to the well-being of the school. They need to be available to listen to what the staff is saying. Teachers need to have time to collaborate with each other. They need to know that their experience/education/talents are respected. They need to feel like part of the "big picture."
     
  13. KimberlyBest

    KimberlyBest Comrade

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    Jan 28, 2006

    Our school is going through pretty much the same thing. We have just initiated monthly social gatherings. Our first is tonight! Each month a teacher or administrator offers up their home for the entire staff to come by. Tonight's gathering will feature on of our teachers doing a cooking school. She is of Chinese descent and will focus on Chinese cooking in honor of Chinese New Year. I'm actually looking forward to tonight just to have some time to chat with staff I rarely have time to see at school.

    On the note of professional development meetings enhancing morale - it doesn't work for us :( We are a K-8 school and invariably they schedule something that doesn't apply across the board. Our biggest complaint is that we'd like to have time to meet in our grade levels to work on across the board curriculum development. As we slide down toward the end of the year we'd also like time to discuss the expectations of the grade level above us to make sure our students are on the right track.

    HTH

    Kimberly
     
  14. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    Jan 28, 2006

    We just had a great in service. We are a very small rural K-12 school. The schools in our area got together and hired a national incentive speaker. After lunch we broke into small groups and had a time of sharing. The morning started with fifteen minute (coffee or juice and donuts)

    Do something special once a month or every Monday. Sometimes small, sometimes big. Have the PTA or administration to support a small unique item and put in each persons mail box. Or a group project. Include the paras, janitors, cooks, secretaries and administration.
    ***** M&M Pills for Teachers
    Eat a brown M&M to temporarily calm your carving for chocolate
    Eat a red M&M at the first sign of meeting overload.
    Orange minimizes “Mental Block” during long range planning.
    Eat a Green M&M to calm your frustrations while arranging the room
    If you feel a head ache coming on while doing lesson plans eat a yellow M&M.
    Blue M&M’s reduces Bulletin Board fatigue.
    Directions: Take as needed. If all symptoms occur at the same time eat the whole bag. Warning: May cause weight gain

    Rick Rack This year will be full of ups and downs, but
    eventually everything will smooth out.

    Wiggly Eye Keep an eye on our students to discover
    how best to help them. Or, for when you
    wish you had eyes in the back of your head.

    Battery Like the Energizer Bunny, to help you keep
    going and going and going.

    Animal Crackers Eat these when you think your office (classroom) is a zoo.

    Jingle Bell Ring for help if you need it, we're here to help each other.

    Present Remember our students are a gift to us.

    Candy Bar Use this whenever you need a "Sweet Escape".

    Smiley Sticker Try hard to wear a happy face.

    Snowflake When all else fails, pray for a snow day.

    Flower Pot We are here to plant the seeds of knowledge.

    Clothespin Hang in there!!

    Hole Reinforces Don't forget to reinforce the efforts of each other.

    Pen You are a priceless part of (PLACE YOUR SCHOOL NAME HERE) School.

    Orange "Orange" you glad you are a part of the best
    school in YOUR TOWN OR CITY GOES HERE!!

    THE MARBLE STORY
    A friend of mine once said to me,
    This marble is for you.
    For I was sure I had lost all of mine
    When life became so blue.

    So now I know despite the odds,
    My marbles may be few
    But that friend of mine reminded me,
    Life can be wonderful, too.
    Now you can have a marble,
    And only for some fun.
    So when you think You’ve “lost your marbles”.
    You know you at least have one!

    Have cake in the teachers lounge. With a note Thank You for being a part of our school.

    Donuts and a note .... Don't you know you are appreciated.... Thanks for working on our team....


    I have a lot more if you are interested, let me know and I will post more ideas.
     
  15. KimberlyBest

    KimberlyBest Comrade

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    Jan 28, 2006

    Post Post Post, I'm copying these down for our lead teachers they are great!!!
     
  16. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Jan 28, 2006

    The secondary teachers in my old school often sighed and said that the biggest morale booster would have been some time to work in our rooms on those half days, instead of being forced to attend meeting after meeting, building bridges with masking tape and pushpins, listening to apallingly bad speakers who bring no prior knowledge of their topic to the table, and drawing names out of hats and being forced to write down 'ten positive things I've noticed about you," etc. When you've taught for a million years, you lose patience with time-wasters, although the younger teachers seemed to like it. Being allowed to just go to our rooms and get some work done uninterrupted would have meant that the administration TRUSTED us to do so, and a little food would have been nice, too. The social stuff was always done around the food-breaks anyway, on the secondary level of our building.

    I am NOT putting down all the little social things mentioned here, but a little of that goes a long way. We had 200 4-page term papers to grade, and some time to do it at school would have been heavenly.

    Permanently expelling about five kids would have been a grand morale-booster for the entire school, actually. Teachers AND students. Sigh.
     
  17. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    Jan 28, 2006

    We draw names and bake a large cake for everybody in honor of that persons birthday. The birthday person cuts the first piece of cake.

    Anyone who wants puts their name in the basket for a secret pal at the first of school. We are to do something once a month. A card with words of encouragment. A package 3 or 4 dollars. A nice gift 10 to 15 dollars. ---birthday or Christmas.... Sometimes a can of pop or candy bar. It is not a big money deal. Words to inspire are the important thing. There is a form to fill out that goes along with whoever draws our name. Name, favorite color, favorite ball team, date of birthday, date of anniversary, something special I like, hobbies. ------so we don't do a special Valentine week activity.

    This year the Halloween BOO was lots of fun. If someone didn't want to be BOO! they put a small BOO on their door and we all knew to pass them over.

    Next in-service planned is to have a speaker just for our school and the afternoon is planned for working in the room. I was indirectly told this.
     
  18. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 28, 2006

    Yeah, we lost all our teacher work days due to hurricane make up. I resent when we are 'required' to have fun. That usually falls flat. The last time we had a national motivational speaker he annoyed the heck out of me. Another time they got a chiropractor to come in - it was one big long commercial. I agree that just being appreciated, acknowledged, and given realistic time and monetary compensation are the best morale boosters. Our principal is great about understanding personal needs, mental health issues, positive feedback. It goes a long way.
     
  19. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Jan 28, 2006

    While I appreciate well-done professional development, ours is usually poorly run, also. I resent being told that our precious in-service time is going to be used for team building, and then show up and a teacher (on the planning team) is doing a promo for the "spa line" of stuff she is selling on the side.
    With our constantly changing curriculum and state standards, it would be useful to have time to meet as a grade level and discuss what we should be working on.
     
  20. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    Cinnamon Bears.... I can't bear to think what our school would be like without you. You are the greatest teachers. Glad we are on the same team.

    Plant Thanks for helping our students grow! We appreciate all you do....

    A mirror... You are looking at a special teacher.

    Halloween --- Candy pumpkins. Thanks for helping us harvest our potential.

    Teacher Seeds
    Kids are like seeds you plant in the soil,
    Each takes patiene nurturing and toil.
    You are a great teacher. You do your job well
    planting seeds of knowledge.
    Just look at us to tell. Now plant these seeds and over eachone fuss so they'll grow up bright to remind you of us.

    7 up Teacher you add "Sparkle" to our team.

    Watermelon Jolly Ranchers Teacher you are one in a "Melon"

    Special Treat Teahers come and teachers go but you are the best I'll ever know! Thanks for always being there...

    Hersheys Hugs and Kisses Hugs and Kisses , stars for wishes ... you make me reach for the stars... Thanks for working hard as a team.

    Amazin Fruits You are amazing when it comes to teaching You are the best teachers. Glad we are on the same team.

    Hot cocoa mix Teacher you "warm" my heart

    Mints You "mint" alot to me You are the best teacher...

    Soup Mix You are a souper teacher. Glad you are a part of our team....

    Banana Bread If I could choose my teacher and I searched the whole world through I'd sim;y go "bananas" trying to find a better group of teachers than you. You are the best of the bunch.....

    M&Ms You are a "Magnificent and Marvelous" teacher. Thanks for being you.

    Life Savers...You are a real "Lifesaver" teacher.... Thanks

    Yard stick no one measures up to you when it comes to teaching... you are simply the best OR Yards of thanks to you teacher for a job well done.

    Jar of Jam... Berry Best Teacher.

    Sorry you have had none inspiring speakers. We have really had some super speakers and everybody felt good when they left.
     
  21. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Jan 29, 2006

    Thanks for the ideas everyone! I'm keeping a list of them:)

    Unfortunately one of the main reasons our staff morale is so low is that our principal does not show us she appreciates us at all. And especially for the new teachers, I think that is so important. I wish my principal would do little things like that to just show us she cares, but communication is her biggest weakness...

    But keep the ideas coming!! Thanks:)
     

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