15 Ideas for Improving Teacher Morale

15 ideas to improve morale at your school. The last one is the most vital!
Teacher morale is an important part of the school community. Teachers are unique in that we are used to fending for ourselves, and pulling ourselves out of even the deepest of funks. This doesn't mean that we don't like a little morale booster from time to time. 

Most of these ideas can be used for an individual teacher that is in need of a little uplift, a team, or the whole school. 

First, let me say that there are a few rules that I propose. 
One-Teachers like a little bit of cheese, but not a lot. 
Two-Keep it simple. There is no need to move mountains.
Three-Most teachers just want to know you care. 

Without further adieu I bring you the list: (drum roll please)

1. Bring a Coworker Lunch

I mean seriously, who doesn't like being brought lunch? It doesn't have to be anything difficult. I have always been a big fan of leftovers for lunch, and sometimes you have more than you and your family can eat. Why not bring an extra to surprise your coworker with?

Another route I loved to take was to order pizza for the team. This surprise was always met with smiles, and bonus, I didn't have to pack a lunch either.

2. Clean a Common Area

Some of our common areas, think the staff fridge or microwave, are in desperate need of some love. Take a few minutes to clean that space, and I promise that it will be noticed. 

Kind of on this note, we had a couple of teachers at our school that took it upon themselves to bring ice from the cafeteria to the lounge each morning. This task, while it seemed trivial to them, made our lives SO much easier, and was truly appreciated.

3. Random Contests

Teachers by nature are also competitive, and who doesn't a little competition? These competitions don't have to be anything special, but they should be tailored to the people you are trying to reach. 

Our campus had MANY step competitions, whether they be single day, week, or month long competitions. Most of us were wearing Fitbits anyway, so it just fit. Most of the time the prize would be a silly certificate or a candy bar, nothing over the top.

4. Chocolate

I mean, do I need to explain this one?

5. Out of School Get Togethers

It is vital that we get out of the school building. My team and I had a standing date for "choir practice" every Friday after school. We didn't make it every week, but we did make it more often than not. 

By having this standing date it encouraged us to get our stuff done and leave to begin our weekends, which is always a morale booster.

6. Notes of Appreciation

Hand written notes are my love language. There is no way around that. I love them. I hoard them. I write them to others. 

A personalized note of appreciation can mean the world. I was always an especially big fan when the note was about something that we had previously discussed. This is a great way to show others that you are listening and you care.

7. Sweat Together

A little sweat, or a lot in my case, is good for you. Invite your coworkers to go for an after school walk, or start a workout club together. Endorphins are our friends.

8. Celebration or Brag Board

If you have some space in a staff area whether it be the lounge, workroom, or even a meeting room set up a place where your staff can brag about one another. Everyone loves to be celebrated, and a Brag Board is a great way to simply accomplish this. 

Our admin would occasionally choose an appropriate celebration and add it to the morning announcements for a little extra love.

9. Snacks

A little snack in the workroom goes a long way. It doesn't have to be anything extravagant. Popcorn pretzels, M&Ms, or anything else that you know your team will love. 

My principal knew that Dr. Pepper was my weakness, so when she wanted to thank me for something she would write me a little sticky note and put it and a Dr. Pepper in my mailbox. It made my day every single time.

10. Potlucks

Potlucks are a little tricky in that they can be really fun, but you have to make sure that they aren't view as just "one more thing" on teachers' to do list. Our school PTA would often provide the main dish and then we brought sides and desserts. It made it very easy.

11. Jeans Passes

I firmly believe that I am a better teacher when I am wearing jeans. Moving on...

12. A Little Break

One year our admin surprised each of us with a twenty minute break in which they did a read aloud with our class right before the winter break when we were all running a little ragged. This small act was so appreciated by everyone. It truly is one of the times that I felt the most love.

15 ideas to improve morale at your school. The last one is the most vital!13. Compliments

A little compliment goes a long way. Compliments are especially great when they are focused on an area of growth. If you know that someone is challenged by something and you notice they are doing it well let them know it! 

As teachers we are so used to filling our students' buckets with compliments, but sometimes we forget about one another.

14. Gift Exchanges

I am an especially big fan of the secret santa or secret valentine or secret anything format in which you get a little gift each day for a week and then the big reveal. I always feel so cared for during these exchanges because the person giving the gift really puts a lot of effort into tailoring the gifts to the recipient.

15. Respect Their Time

The absolute best way I have ever encountered to improve morale is to genuinely respect teachers and their time. We are all overworked and overwhelmed, so don't add anything extra that isn't necessary. 

The absolute best is when usually obligatory items get cancelled such as staff meetings or an after hours event. Respecting our time is truly the way to respect us the most. 

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Wait Time Two

The life changing miracle that is wait time two in the classroom.
I know you have heard of wait time. You know, the 2-3 seconds you wait after asking a question before you actually have a student answer. Wait time works miracles in getting student engagement up and providing more thoughtful contributions to classroom discussions. 

BUT have you heard of wait time two? I am going to be honest, I hadn't. I have been using wait time one, the traditional wait time, all my life. Even as a teenage babysitter I used it. It just seems so natural, and once you start using it, you love it. 

A few weeks ago I was talking to some teacher friends, and they were discussing wait time two. I knew what wait time was, but was confused by the two that they were adding. Could I be missing something important? I had to ask. 

Have you heard of wait time two? Find out what you are missing out on!My friend was SO excited to share with me that wait time two is the time you wait, the same approximate 2-3 seconds, after a student answers before you speak again. Immediately my brain started swimming through the application of this. I mean, we always want our students to elaborate on their answers, and what a great way to tell them that we are expecting more without saying, "Tell me more," until we are blue in the face.

I had to try it out, and right away. I didn't have any students readily available, so I went with another friend. I asked her a basic question, "How was your day?" She answered with the basic, "You know, busy," I continued to wait rather than offering feedback, and sure enough she elaborated on her day by telling me all about what was going on in her life.

AMAZING. I mean life changing amazing.

So, my challenge to you is to try it out. Give it a try with your students, a friend, your significant other, and then let me know how it goes in the comments, because I think this is going to be a game changer!

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Thankful to be a Teacher

8 reasons I am thankful to be a teacher, and the last one is the most important!
November is rough in the classroom. I mean really rough. October was tough, but things just get rough in November. Every year I think it will be better, but every year it is rough. It is hard to remember during these times why you do what you do every day, but sometimes that is exactly what we need.

When the going gets tough, I like to count my blessings. Today I bring to you, why I am thankful to be a teacher.

I Have Purpose

I don't think that any teacher doubts that they have purpose, but I think sometimes we may take it for granted. There are a lot of people in the world who have no idea what they are doing on a day to day basis, but we, as teachers, have a defined purpose each and every day. 

Our students are what it is all about, and we certainly do our best to be our best for them. 

I Have Community

All of my absolute best friends in the world are my teacher friends. From the teacher next door to the teacher I met online, and have never met in person, we are all friends. Teaching as a profession is like no other. We celebrate one another's accomplishments and cry for one another when the going gets tough. 

We pull together to create the most amazing community of people, and for that I am ever grateful. 

I Have Laughter

Sometimes I am laughing at something a student or colleague did, and sometimes I am just laughing at myself for having mixed up words or having just tripped over the same rug that I trip over every day. 

There is no shortage of laughter in teaching, we just have to see it. 

I Have Responsibility

Responsibility is a double edged sword, but if we are being honest we know that it makes us better people. Just like having a specific purpose in the classroom, our responsibility to our students is the driving force behind what we do. There is no way around it. 

If you are not thankful for the responsibility of shaping young minds and growing our next generation of amazing people, then I am not quite sure what to say. 

I Have Excitement

You can say a lot of things about teaching, and they would all be true, but you can NEVER say that teaching is a dull profession. Have you heard of Kids Say the Darnedest Things? 
8 reasons I am thankful to be a teacher, and the last one is the most important!
They sure do! They also do the darnedest things too. Nothing about being in the classroom is dull. Every day is exciting, and usually in the best way that you could have never planned.  

I Have Humility

Kids are honest. Brutally honest. One day I thought I was hot stuff with my new haircut and super cute dress. I went trotting into the classroom and awaited the compliments from my students that I was sure to be showered with. I mean, I had even put on make up that day. 

First student walks in, looks at me, and says, "Are you supposed to have a sock on your butt?"

No, no child, that is not on purpose. Let's have an impromptu lesson on static energy for a moment shall we. 

Basically, our students keep us humble, and for that I am thankful. 

I Have Goals

I have goals for myself, my students, our school, and my profession as a whole. Part of being a teacher that I love is the constant growth. There is never a time in which I am stagnant in my journey, and that is something that is so unbelievable and amazing to me. If this feeling ever goes away, I will know that it is time for me to leave education. 

Right now, I am out of the classroom and my goals are to help make teaching and education as a whole a better place to be, but one of my goals is also to return to the classroom. 

I Have Inspiration

I am inspired every day by students, colleagues, administration, and you my dear readers, you. There is so much inspiration to be found in teaching that I often find myself overwhelmed by it. I cannot contain myself when I see a teacher doing something engaging with their students, and I don't want to. 

I love being inspired by others to constantly better myself, and make education as a whole better as well! 

What are you thankful for?

I want to hear it! Let me know what you are thankful for in teaching in the comments below! 

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