How often do you intentionally work to boost teacher morale at your school? A school with a great culture is one that everyone wants to be a part of. A positive, welcoming environment with support, encouragement, and gratitude contributes to the overall success of everyone in the school. Schools can be motivating and inspirational or they can be full of negativity. Both environments make it easy for those on the outside looking in to see. Having a staff that works together and feels valued provides those within a school with unmatched learning experiences. Teachers are the heartbeat of every school community, so supporting them is critical to building a positive school culture.
I have experienced both types of environments and everything in between. There is no coincidence that my best years of teaching were also the years in that I had the strongest support systems and administrators that genuinely cared for my well-being and success. The community that was created in the school made it much easier to stay positive and motivated even during the most challenging times.
Supporting the well-being of teachers, finding ways to boost teacher morale, and creating strong support systems for working through challenging times should always be a top priority for administrators.
Why is teacher morale important?
What a teacher does in the classroom can make or break the learning experience. Teachers are responsible for so much more than just teaching academic content and this significantly contributes to their level of stress. Helping them relieve their stress and keeping the morale of teachers high impacts everything and everyone else involved in the learning environment. Boosting teacher morale leads to:
- Higher job satisfaction and retention rates
- Lower burnout and stress levels
- Higher student performance
- A positive school climate
- A culture of continuous learning
- A collaborative environment
- Greater parent support
Teachers who feel valued and supported are better equipped to handle the challenges that come along with teaching.
Ways You Can Raise Teacher Morale
As an administrator, you set the tone for the entire school. You build and maintain the morale of everyone in the building. Your actions will always be the guide for how everyone else performs. Creating a positive workplace and valuable learning experiences starts with what you do at the top. If you are authentic in the ways you boost teacher morale then you will see that these practices below are sustainable.
- Build relationships with teachers
- Be positive and use a strengths-based approach within yourself
- Follow through on your word
- Be genuine all the time
- Be present and seen
- Show appreciation
- Work to create a positive culture by adopting a schoolwide strengths-based approach
- Find opportunities for teachers to take on leadership roles and involve them in the decision-making process
- Provide support for classroom management, teaching strategies, and best practices
- Emphasize a work/life balance
- Acknowledge challenges and support them
By adopting these practices you show teachers how truly valuable they are. They feel heard, supported, and encouraged. When you genuinely put these practices into play they have a huge impact.
Ideas for Boosting Teacher Morale
Once you have adopted the practices above as ways to boost teacher morale then you are in a better position to use some ideas that work to keep teachers positive and engaged by helping them improve, grow, and feel valued. Below are some of my favorite ideas to keep teacher morale high.
- Use reward coupons as a fun way to help relieve stress.
- Celebrate the teachers’ wins with an award ceremony. Teachers get a kick out of these superlative awards!
- Offer professional development opportunities that align with the teachers’ interests and goals.
- Create wellness programs with mental and physical health initiatives.
- Provide regular opportunities for teachers to collaborate. You will definitely get bonus points for this if you can find opportunities during the school day.
- Offer flexible scheduling or remote work options when possible. Now that we are accustomed to remote work why not allow some of the built-in work days to be work-from-home-days?
- Provide resources and support for managing classroom challenges.
Positive school culture is one of the biggest predictors of academic success. The only way to create a school culture that people are proud to be a part of and those on the outside want into is to start at the top so that the positivity, motivation, engagement, and feeling of value trickle down.