It’s no secret that a happy employee is a productive employee and the same goes for teachers. The expectations for educators keep growing and all too often this can have a disheartening effect in the workplace. Teachers do not just work from when the bell goes in the morning until the children leave at three and then they can go home themselves. They are responsible for leading the next generation. They spend all day teaching. They stay late for staff meetings and parent consultations. They take their marking home with them and then weekends and evenings are spent planning the next weeks lessons. Recent studies have shown that many new teachers leave the professions within five years. So how can we boost our teachers morale and in turn make the workplace a happier environment for everyone involved?
1 – Quarterly Teacher Newsletters.
Let those teachers shine! Take a chance to celebrate their accomplishments. Have they received an award or passed an extra course? Have they gone the extra mile to help a student who was struggling? Welcome the new teachers coming in and say goodbye to the ones that are retiring. Congratulate the personal milestones in their lives. In each newsletter dedicate a section to a different member of staff. Not only will their colleagues love congratulating them but they will feel like their hard work is being recognised and appreciated. Make sure to share these newsletters with the parents and children too so that everyone can feel a part of their success. You could take it one step further and add an “Achievement Wall” in the staff room where any member of staff can leave a lovely note about a fellow colleague.
2 – Give Teachers An Element Of Control.
Teachers are governed by a lot of red tape which can sometimes seem stifling and overwhelming to them which in turn stems productivity and creativity. Where it is appropriate let them help to come up with solutions for issues that arise within the school or their own classroom. Hold regular meetings to throw ideas around and give everyone a chance to have an input. If a particular teacher wants to start a new after school group then listen to their ideas and help them to implement them. Let them take some of the control and they will feel valued and part of the team. Encourage everyone to all help each other. A school is a community and when everyone pulls together and feels like one united force it can lift every one up.
3 – Treat Everyone As An Individual.
As with the children in the classroom, every adult is also an individual with different personalities and needs that have to be met. Everyone responds differently to the stresses and strains of daily life. Maybe you have a teacher that thrives being under pressure and can take it all on by themselves but another teacher might need a little more extra help during those testing times. Let them know that your door is always open and any problem can be resolved together. People, no matter their age, like to know that they are heard and that their feelings are valid.
4 – Brighten Up The Staff Room.
The Staff Room needs to be a place where teachers can come during lunch and break times and escape their classroom. No one enjoys eating at their desks but a negative space can quickly have a damaging effect on morale. Take some time to make your staff room a calm and inviting space that is free from clutter. A simple vase of flowers, fun stainless steel signs, pops of colours on the walls and some cushions will help create the perfect ambience and let everyone recharge ready for the fun afternoon ahead! Take some time to give the fridge and microwave a wipe over and add some sweet treats in the cupboard. The teachers will notice the small gestures. Once in a while have lunch brought in for them. Teachers spend all day helping other people so they appreciate when something special is done for them in return.
5 – Implement a Mentoring Program.
Stepping into your very first classroom as a newly qualified teacher is a daunting experience and can make even the most confident person nervous. They will more often than not second guess their decisions and question if they can actually manage thirty children at one time. Try and create a mentoring programme for an experienced teacher to take a new teacher under their wing and give them a bit of stability in that first testing year. They will be able to bounce ideas off their mentor, ask questions and it will help to slowly build their confidence. Hopefully one day that newly qualified teacher will become a mentor themselves!
6 – Dress down day
Teachers obviously need to dress smartly and appropriately, however once in a while allow them to “Dress down” for the day whilst still being smart but casual. It can have a real boosting effect on everyone’s mood and can encourage some light hearted fun. Have everyone taking part put a small contribution into a pot and put it towards an evening out for the staff. Two morale boosters for one!
7 – Share Your Vision For The School.
From that very first interview, though to their first day and throughout their time with the school share your vision for the school. What is your ethos and how are you going to achieve it? What do you want every pupil that walks though those school gates to feel when they leave on their final day? Let your teachers know that their involvement makes all the difference and it is not something that can be achieved by one person acting alone. Enter their classroom everyday and show that you are available and engaged with them. Teachers can sometimes feel isolated behind those classroom doors so removing those invisible barriers can have a massive impact on them and the whole morale of the school.