Teacher Morale Part Two

Back in May I posted about teacher morale and asked for what you guys do to create a positive teaching environment.

I'm back again to consolidate ideas I've found into one post. Surely we are not the only school who struggles in this area. Hopefully there is something helpful here for all of us:

When our school had the lowest morale a teacher started this awesome pay it forward thing. Silently without saying who it was from she would get three people little gifts from the dollar store. Place those gifts in a brown bag with our last name on it and a little note about paying it forward. Leaving them in our mailboxes. From coffee cups with a little smaller coffee mix or candy... She got me gardening things! Everyone looovvved it and many people participated by paying it forward to another teacher like she asked but secretly through out our first half of the year she got everyone in school. We only have 36 on staff... smaller k-8 school. Some people got doubled up but it was like they needed it. I still do it. I will leave five dollar gift cards to target on a stack of post it notes with a note of encouragement... And others do it for me when they know I'm struggling. I recall getting Starbucks gift card and a nice travel mug... But it's all about the idea, what would they like or need? None of us knew so this year we have a staff engagement committee and through that we created a staff likes binder and each staff member has a page of the things they like and enjoy.... Easily accessed in our workroom. 
This year the biggest help was our getting to know you binder. Everyone filled out an ALL about me sheet we put them in sleeves and left it in the teachers lounge. I grabbed ideas from there to thank people, co teachers, and I know they used mine for snacks and such. It was really great. We also had a photo selfie scavenger hunt with teams for things around the school (prizes included various King size candy bars lol), staff meals that were catered or we all brought something in pot luck style and gave it a theme like Italian. Then with decorations, games, etc it was good.  -Alexandra Felton

You can suggest starting every staff and/ or team meeting with a couple of positive anecdotes so teachers can share classroom successes.

Another idea is to coordinate with your colleagues and send a weekly or monthly accomplishments email. Create a shared Google Doc or form where any staff member can quickly type in something that worked well in his or her classroom, and the person in charge just copies and pastes the text into an email or other newsletter which gets sent to the whole staff. bulletin board or dry erase board in the staff lounge and write notes about your accomplishments on it: Sam learned 10 new sight words today! We finally finished our holiday project! I figured out a system for handling make-up work!

You can also try a Teacher of the Week trophy with your entire faculty or just your grade level team. This should be done on a scheduled, rotating basis so that no one is left out. Announce at the beginning of the meeting who that week’s honored teacher will be, and make small pieces of stationery or notepads available for other staff members to write encouraging messages on. Collect the notes, place them in the trophy, and at the end of the meeting, award it to the teacher. -Angela Watson {Unshakeable}

I can think of one thing from a school where I student taught where they exchanged names with their birthday and favorite cake. So each person gets their favorite cake on their birthday from a surprise colleague. -me

I even googled it and found a pretty good link with teacher submitted ideas.

So one more time, I'm going to beg plead ask for your help. What are your favorite traditions at school that make it a fun place to work?


  1. Great ideas! Thank you for sharing. :)

  2. Great ideas! Thank you for sharing. :)

  3. My old school did a lot that I didn't realize was special until I left:
    1. Teachers were paired up to bring in breakfast on a Friday. So teachers got (sort of) free breakfast every Friday!
    2. Each department/grade level was in charge of providing a snack for a staff meeting. So every staff meeting had a snack provided for us (by us).
    3. There was a committee in charge of PBIS but part of that committee also did Staff Shout Outs. A box was put in the copy room where teachers could place a note thanking someone else for something. It could be anonymous or not. I once got one thanking me for letting another teacher use the copier when it was my turn, for instance. The PBIS team would attach the notes to a little bag of candy and put it in the teacher's mailbox.
    4. At the beginning of each staff meeting, the principal would ask if there were any Thank Yous. People would use this to congratulate teachers on putting on a good concert or organizing a big event. The teachers would get a flower and candy bar. Sometimes I thought this was a little overkill, but it was still a nice start to staff meetings.

    All of these things were great for morale. It was my first teaching job and I didn't realize that this was not the case in every other school. My next school was nothing like this. Nothing was in place for boosting teacher morale and it showed. I was thinking about trying to start the Shout Outs next year, but now I'll be at a different school. I think any of the ideas you got would be great!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing! I'm glad that you had a good experience your first year- it's a tough one.