Improving teacher morale?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Sunflower883, May 26, 2012.

  1. Sunflower883

    Sunflower883 Rookie

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    May 26, 2012

    What does your school do to improve teacher morale?
     
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  3. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Our school administration couldn't care less about teacher morale.

    :yawn:
     
  4. jwteacher

    jwteacher Cohort

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    Absolutely nothing. The few things that my school supposedly does to boost morale does completely the opposite (like teacher of the year).
     
  5. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    absolutely nothing.
     
  6. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    At the school where I am a LTS, the teachers received a free catered meal for lunch every day during Teacher Appreciation Week.
     
  7. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    I just had a conversation about that with my p. Our staff used to be very close knit and happy, but as our school has grown the opportunities to collaborate and socialize has diminished. We used to have breakfast every Friday, but the cost of bringing in food to feed our ever growing staff put a stop to that. we used to socialize every Friday after work, but we've stopped doing that too. There are only three on our social committee and all we have done is to plan our Christmas party and three baby showers and now our end of the year party. There doesn't seem to be any interest in doing more.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Teachers take it upon themselves. We organize monthly breakfasts. Happy hour on Fridays. Lunch and plan together. Just organized a softball game vs the police dpt for charity....
     
  9. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    We do tons of activities to bring us all together. I am quite happy with the morale at our school.
     
  10. Learner4Life

    Learner4Life Cohort

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    Our teachers take it upon themselves as well. We even have a Sunshine Committee that makes sure if there is anyone is going through a rough time, they know we're behind them. The band teacher's wife was just in a bike accident and we went and got him a meal from Costco and a plant to take to the hospital. And when I got married, the Committee got me a bottle of wine and some glasses.
    The committee is also in charge of fun things like the end of the year BBQ and a quarterly after school visit to the local watering hole (just organizing not paying for...)
     
  11. MotherGoose

    MotherGoose Rookie

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    May 26, 2012

    No micro-managing. (1 unexpected walk-through per semester) Administrators respect and treat teachers as professionals and don't feel the need to keep an eye on them--- the proof is in the test scores!
    No teacher sign-in or sign-out sheets. Since we are salaried employees, time on campus is not tracked, only the outcome of services provided--- again, just look at the attendace rates, grades, drop out rates, and those test scores!
    No unnecessary meetings just to meet a monthly meeting quota. In fact, there have been several "email meetings" this semester because our administration respects that we've been swamped with tutorials in preparation for testing.
    "Jeans day" for every possible occasion.
    Friendly administration-- always seem happy and friendly towards teachers. Ask and seem to care how we are doing.

    This all may seem like simple things, but it all adds up to teachers who want to stay and try their hardest!

    And I am fortunate to have taught in many schools like this--- in fact I am in one now, and am really torn about staying or moving on.
     
  12. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    May 26, 2012

    Morale comes down to respect. You don't have to wine and dine me so to speak with special meals or whatnot. Administrators who listen to teachers, respect their opinions, etc. boost morale.
     
  13. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Not trying to be rude or disrespectful, just curious, but why do you stay in a profession that you seem to obviously have a great dislike for?
     
  14. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Wow, I'd think you work at my school if it weren't for the specific breakfast thing! We used to be an extremely small and close staff. We went to happy hour every Friday. Even strangers that walked in the building said that they actually got a "feeling" of how positive the place was. I have felt a huge shift this year. With budget cuts, many people spent most of the winter worrying about whether they had a job. We combined with a middle school to create a k-8, which is hard b/c middle school and elementary teachers just have such different ways of approaching things. We used to social things together all of the time- now, I only go to happy hour with my 1-2 closest friends from work. We've tried to get other people interested, but people just want to go home. On occasion when we do have big planned all-staff events, people have started bringing their children, the great majority of which are babies or toddlers. I know this is something I just can't understand because I'm not a mom, but when I go out to socialize with people, I want to socialize with adults...not spend hours oohing and ahhing over everything someone's baby and/or toddler does. I'm usually always the person that's up for happy hour, but yesterday I turned it down because I hadn't had the best day at school and was in no mood to be in baby central- I met some outside-school friends instead.

    Our admin also used to put little notes in our boxes that gave specific examples of something positive they'd seen us do or specific reasons they appreciated us (they were personal little letters to each of us, not a generic "we appreciate you.") Those always made me feel really good. My guess is that this year with a staff that's more than double in size and dealing with an equally doubled school size, they just don't have time for things like that anymore. I often feel that the mood at work now is either tense and/or negative. When you hear teachers talking in the hallway casually, it's almost always something like, "I'm so tired, I want to go home, how many days until the weekend," etc. People don't eat in the lounge anymore either- they hide in their rooms. Last year just having that 30 minutes to socialize with adults in the middle of my day really kept my mood up at school.
     
  15. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I think teacher morale is high at my school (although teaching disposition and attitude could be improved).

    There is a lot of autonomy. There is good discussion between teachers and events for teachers to participate in. (i.e. staff award days, basketball games, little parties in the staff room for certain holidays, etc.)

    A couple of weeks ago, we all came in to see awards saying "World's Best Teacher", etc.
     
  16. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    May 26, 2012

    Our admin says "Thank you," quite frequently. It doesn't seem like much, but boy, is it appreciated.

    Unfortunately, the new eval system, district mismanagement, and continued, loud vocal disdain from the community seems to be wearing on everyone.
     
  17. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    May 26, 2012

    Not much at my school, either.

    They tried to hold a decorating contest- but they did it at the END of the quarter when we had to do report cards. It was very bad timing and was just another thing we had to do when we were overly overloaded.
     
  18. onestepcloser

    onestepcloser Companion

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    Ditto. Our admin can be incredibly demoralizing actually. :(

    It is very disheartening sometimes.
     
  19. MotherGoose

    MotherGoose Rookie

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    May 26, 2012

    Perhaps this is only ONE aspect of the profession that he/she has a "great dislike" for? There's certainly more to the profession than school morale or snotty administrators. Most teachers are in it for the daily joy of working with the kids and put up with the rest. NO profession is perfect.
     
  20. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Morale at our school has been dropping like a stone. With larger student/teacher ratios, inconsistent discipline and support from administration, no raises for 6 years and increasing medical co-pay, increasing input into the retirement system, increasing requirements without effective supportive materials, less discipline in the homes thus increasing issues with students, increasing stress levels in the lives of teachers and students... Morale? Now we are facing the uncertainty associated with new administrators. Mixed reactions - hopefully some of the consistency and support issues will be addressed.

    We try. We have a secret pal program, but fewer seem to participate each year, we have periodic free lunches/breakfasts, jeans days a couple of times a month, our individual subject departments have had more "virtual departmental meetings" (which in some ways are demoralizing because there is less personal contact), we've had some virtual faculty meetings and a few teacher work days that were turned into "work at home" days (that was probably one of the best morale lifts).

    Morale comes from efforts inside each one of us as well. We have to choose not to sink into the morass. Not easy to do sometimes.
     
  21. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    I'd like to think of it in a bit of a different light, and question the role of Human Resources in a school district. As that goes, I know of nothing mine does to address morale. Nothing.

    After all, isn't (at least) part of a HR dept to manage it's human resources? Isn't part of management of these resources, keeping them motivated, happy, satisfied, etc? It seems to me that HR departments in a school district should do things in this regard, affecting culture, morale, etc.

    You think of companies like Google, or zappos, or Southwest Airlines as examples of where Human Resources has created a certain culture. I'm not saying a school district's culture should be as zany or off-the-wall as that... or even that this is their primary role.

    There are SO MANY things that HR can do (in general business) that could help morale... it's hard to list. But I see NOTHING, that public school districts do in this regard.
     
  22. teach42

    teach42 Comrade

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    This sounds like a great school. I wish I could be left alone to do my job, teach how I want to without all the micro-managing and have the support of admin. That explains why I'm getting the heck out of dodge.
     
  23. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Teacher morale at my school is very low. When it has been brought to the attention of admin, one of three things has happened.

    1. Admin ignores the issue. This is what happens most of the time.
    2. Admin reminds us that something worse and/or more difficult is coming and that we should be grateful for how things are now.
    3. Admin tries something out of the blue but goes about it the wrong way. The last time they did this was earlier this year when they decided to organize a pot luck lunch during one of our staff development days. Sounds nice, right? Except that they gave us three days' notice and decided what each of us would be bringing. I couldn't bring the things that I enjoy making for putlucks or that I had ingredients on hand for. Instead I had to go to the store, spend about $20 on stuff for my mandated dish, and make something that I didn't like. Awesome. There were lots of grumblings about that particular situation, but admin dismissed them as being the worthless complaints of whiny people and by saying that we weren't team players and didn't appreciate everything that admin does for us.
     
  24. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Wow, telling you what to bring...that's just...well, stupid. I likely wouldn't have participated.
     
  25. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Well that's the best way to encourage morale. If those things were in place throughout the field then no one would need to 'boost morale.'..it would come automatically.

    It's the only type of environment I'd work in.
     
  26. onestepcloser

    onestepcloser Companion

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    May 27, 2012

    What do the folks at your schools typically wear? I see some mention of jeans days and am curious because I think what some of the people at my work wear would appall you guys. LOL. (Perhaps it's a sign of the low morale?)
     
  27. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    onestep, everyone is different but generally relaxed compared to what I read here.

    There is one teacher who sometimes wears a blazer, but she is the exception for sure. There is a newer teacher who tends to wear ties, but he is again the exception.
     
  28. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    We have "official" jeans day every Friday. However, many people wear jeans throughout the week and no one comments. I know no one cares, but I can't bring myself to do it because we're not technically supposed to, haha. I would never even think of wearing them during the week. I usually wear dresses and skirts and am a lot dressier than most in the building. Most of the elementary teachers (we're a k-8) will at least wear darker jeans and a sweater/nice top. Many of the middle school teachers literally wear jeans, t shirts, and gym shoes.
     
  29. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Our contract states that we are to dress professionally. It basically means we can wear whatever we want. No one else makes the decision about whether our dress is appropriate.
     
  30. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    We are never allowed to wear jeans. Ever.
     
  31. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    :yeahthat: Handbook states professionally dress. Funny story... I usually wear a nice top and a cardigan - my room gets really hot. We had an assembly the other day; I was speaking, so I brought a suit jacket. When I put it on and started herding kids to the assembly, one of my boys stopped me and said, "Hey! You look like a teacher today instead of a librarian!"

    Kids. They notice your clothes.
     
  32. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Nothing is done to build low teacher morale. It is on us.
     
  33. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    No. It's not this ONE aspect.


    We can wear jeans...mostly the guys do. We have a monthly jeans charity event. $5 in the envelope, wear jeans on a determined Friday. The $ goes to charity.
     
  34. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    The staff at my school tend to dress comfortably but not to the point of sloppy. We all work with students with disabilities and severe behavior so skirts and heels would be totally inappropriate (although there is one teacher who I call "czacza" in my head because her outfits are so well put together and classy LOL sorry czacza). I don't think this affects our teacher morale in any way. Everyone is always pleasant to one another and the administration is always there with a smile and asks how you're doing, etc. We are shown that we are appreciated even if it's not "teacher appreciation week" and I think that helps a lot.
     
  35. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    That's how I feel too. Commenting on people's strengths (we hear all about the weaknesses when we do evaluations), being present and involved as admins--I think that's a good start. They did things for us each day of Teacher Appreciation week, and it was a nice thought but I felt like we have to wait for May?...it should be an ongoing concept for them. Teachers try to do things like the birthday club and secret pals, but like others said it's really hard to get people to participate.
     
  36. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    May 27, 2012

    What was the old adage? The beatings will continue until morale improves.
     
  37. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    You made me laugh. Evidently my shoes are my 'signature'. It was a spirit day on Friday...kids dress like teachers, teachers dress like students. THREE girls in my class were dressed as me...which pretty much amounted to heels or wedges....they all had skirts on and one had dangly earrings, but it was all about the shoes.:D I dressed as a third grader...graphic tee, shorts and sandals. Hair in pony tails. It was a hoot.:woot:
     
  38. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    :D
     
  39. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    May 27, 2012

    In order for me to enjoy my day at work, I need to arm myself with a positive attitude, and start my day with a prayer, read a scripture, AND don't let the junk from others get to me. I feed off their positive vibes and flush the negative down the toilet! On days that I let people's negative stuff get to me, I find my day dragging, BUT on the days that I am on my best, singing as I clock in and out, for lunch or @ the end of the day; ignoring the negative stuff; it goes really FAST!:D
    It all starts with my attitude and if I started my day with a prayer. :angel:
    I look at work as a place where I can do my best and get paid so I can enjoy the things in life that I LOVE TO DO. The surroundings will get me there regardless of who or what stands in the way.
    I look at my coworkers as people who can help me make OR break my day. I always say Hi to everyone, and sometimes they do not respond, and I don't take it personally, because maybe they just had a really bad morning or whatever time of the day it is. There are some though who just seem to always have a bad day kind of thingy, but I don't let it bother me. I am there for the children so I have learned not to judge. (I did at first.:eek:)
    I see children as our future team players and leaders in our community and country. I will try to do my best to help them get there. These are young minds who need guidance, because sometimes their parents are trying to make ends meet, and they tend to bypass the "needed time" with their children.
    I see parents as the ones who really care about who is in charge of teaching and taking care of THEIR LOVED ONES. They have a bunch of other preschools BUT they picked ours SO I better do my best to teach and take care of their children. Oh! They keep me working too, SO IT CAN ENJOY THE THINGS I LOVE TO DO IN THIS LIFE.:D
    My goal each day is to watch what I say and do.
    I hope and pray that I keep this goal in mind, ALL THE TIME, especially when one of my students is telling me, "No!", and throwing toys on the floor.
    :cool:My day starts and ends with my ATTITUDE so I better have a POSITIVE one, because it can make or break me.
    Rebel1
     
  40. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    How dare you. :mad:

    To speak as if you have any idea of my situation shows your ignorance. I would have more respect for someone who would merely think to themselves, "I have no idea what circumstances he's under, so I won't say anything."
     
  41. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    May 27, 2012

    You've shared your frustration on a variety of educational and personal school issues. Your frustrations with your situation is clear and has been commented on by others in response to your posts in quite a few threads. If I drew an incorrect conclusion, I apologize. I wish you well.:)
     

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