Staff Morale - Can We Brainstorm?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by chebrutta, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Jan 25, 2013

    Morale at my school is in the toilet for so many different reasons - it would take a book to list it all here. Everyone is in the dumps.

    Can you help me brainstorm some small ways we can work towards building a positive morale? We have six months to go in this school year, and every day things get worse.
     
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  3. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Jan 25, 2013

    Negative talk sinks people lower and lower. Stop the negative talk and find positive things to talk about with co-workers.

    Complaining about things you can't change will do nothing to help morale.

    If someone starts negative talk, quickly change the subject to something positive or neutral.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 25, 2013

    I think that morale comes from the top. When admin are appreciative and supportive, most teachers are usually pretty happy. I want to feel appreciated and supported, in a real way. To me, this means noticing the things that I do well and telling me so. It means allowing me the space and freedom to use my own professional judgment sometimes. It means understanding that when I have a problem that is so big that I bring it to admin for help, it's because I really need help--I don't need it to be ignored or pushed aside in favor or something bigger or more pressing. It means not punishing me when other people make bad choices. It means recognizing my skill and expertise. It means being fair and making sure that all teachers have access to the resources that they need--if most departments have a workroom or private office space, then make sure that all departments have the same thing, even if it's just an empty classroom or a closet where we can keep our department things safe and secure. It means asking for my opinions and really taking the time to listen.
     
  5. MsDeb

    MsDeb Comrade

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    Jan 25, 2013

    We've been trying little things at my school.
    Today my grade-level team planned a taco bar for our lunch in the lounge. We each brought something in. Not everyone participated but we'll keep trying! It's not much but it was easy and we all enjoyed it. We're going to try to do something fun like that every Friday.

    We also did a secret flash mob at a school assembly. We practiced (quite a few complained about this extra work though) but it was really fun. Teachers and students are still talking about it. We're thinking of doing another one.

    Morale is low because there are so many demands on us and we have very little control over how we do things. Doing these little things were fun because we planned it and it had nothing to do with our job - it was purely for fun! It's not mandatory or mandated!
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Jan 25, 2013

    The admin at my last school used to write us little notes about how they appreciated us and then put them in our boxes. The notes would mention specific good things that they had noticed we were doing so you knew it wasn't a generic thing where everyone got the same thing. It was a HUGE morale booster. Even if your admin won't do it, I think a similar note from a fellow teacher would be meaningful also. Our mentor/master teachers used to do them sometimes also. I saved every one of mine. I am at a different school now and I still keep them in a little drawer in my desk. On bad days I pull them out and read them again.
     
  7. MsDeb

    MsDeb Comrade

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    Great idea too! And so easy! I'm going to write some notes this weekend.:)
     
  8. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    Jan 26, 2013

    I agree Caesar! I also believe that the morale comes from the top. Any more it feels like admin. is macromanaging issues then they turn around and say that something was our responsibility that they didn't tell us about. It's almost like you really don't know what they want.

    I understand that administration is having issues/standards/etc. pushed down their throats but I think it is important to recognize what teachers do. I would even appreciate the fact if the principal/assistant principal would say hello when passing me in the hallway. Or even stop to talk with me a bit (chit-chat) instead of walking by me to join some other teacher to talk (which he does quite a bit.) Or making every teacher important not just a chosen few. Oh well, I'll get off my soapbox. You get the idea!!

    Sorry, OP, I didn't provide any really good morale boosters for you. All I know is having treats/meals/etc. doesn't always work at the secondary level at all. Only a few do all the work.:dizzy:
     
  9. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    Jan 26, 2013

    This is so so true.
    We have a great administration at my school at the moment. The superintendent, principal, and vice principal are all supportive and appreciative. The vice principal is tough and rough around the edges, but I have known him for a while and so I feel pretty comfortable with him also. I feel like I could go to any one of them and be treated like a human, and I would be pretty surprised if any of them threw me under a bus for any reason. It wasnt always like this. We had a terrible superintendent several years ago who squeezed every department and everyone was disgruntled. Our last principal would sit in his office and read the paper. Things have definitely been so much better with the new admin.
     
  10. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Jan 26, 2013

  11. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Jan 26, 2013

    I'm going to put a little note in everyone's mailbox Monday. You inspired me! I want it to fit on a little tag that I can attach to the some chocolate....do I need more than "Thank you for what you do for our students. You are appreciated!"?
     
  12. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Jan 26, 2013

    Morale has been discussed at different times every year since being at my school. In the end, it really all starts at the P. It simplified terms, morale is better when the P does not micromanage. When we are given the opportunity to just do our job, people are happier. There are many other things that contribute to it being better or worse, but that is the largest barometer. The sad part is, we have no control over it.
     
  13. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Jan 26, 2013

    The reason this has become a more common lament is that that the new blood (in this case, new teachers) has been effectively blocked from the profession. Lower morale is a byproduct. I know, there are going to be many who want to jump down my throat, or rush to contradict my comment here (e.g. "at MY school, we have new teachers and our morale still sucks!). To those people: Well, your school is exceptional, what can I say.

    But in any thing in life, newness brings life to veteran people. It's part of parenting and why parents enjoy their kids so much... it's seeing things through new eyes.

    Morale may come from the top, but morale can also come organically from within.
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I agree, John. People are responsible for their reactions to situations. Morale is a reaction to a situation. If the group focuses on the negative and things they can't change morale will be low. If they focus more on positives and focus on things they can change to improve things morale goes up.
     
  15. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Jan 26, 2013

    people focus on the things that they want to change, because those things aren't good enough. Nothing wrong with that. Ignoring them never gets anything changed.
     
  16. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Jan 26, 2013

    The vast majority of low morale is directed at the district, not the P. People are leaving in droves - over 100 people have quit the district mid-year this year.

    I have no sympathy for the few who do complain about the P and micromanagement. It's simple - get to work on time, turn in your lesson plans on time, and do your afternoon duty, and the admin will leave you the heck alone.

    I just want my school to find a way to overcome all this nastiness and work together despite all the crap.
     
  17. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Okay, I kind of went a little overboard. :haha: I got each person a treat bag with a mini bag of goldfish and 2 smiley erasers. The note says "Smile! You are a great teacher. Your hard work is appreciated so 'keep on swimming!' Have a great week."

    I hope everyone thinks it's from my principal. :whistle:
     
  18. bdd

    bdd Rookie

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    Jan 26, 2013

    Free breakfast or lunch! PD cut short! Extra time for grading or planning! Complements on doing a good job and working hard!

    I think these could improve morale...
     
  19. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jan 26, 2013

    This is a wonderful idea! Love it!
     
  20. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Jan 27, 2013

    Wow Caesar, that sounds exactly like my school - pre-NCLB

    Ah, for the good old days!
    Teacherman
     
  21. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jan 27, 2013

    My P has left a note for me and my class twice now and it really makes my day. A few nice words do go a long way (rhyme was unintended..lol).
     
  22. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Jan 28, 2013

    I left my treat bags today and everyone had an awesome day but me. :lol: 2 items in my class got stolen, I threw out my back, and one of my students got in a fight and nearly got suspended. WHAT THE HECK? No good deed goes unpunished, I guess! Last time I ever do that. :p
     

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