If you are interested in implementing some small things that go along way to increase positive staff culture, then this post is for you! Personally, I believe administrators should take charge of implementing (though I’m not sure if many administrators read this blog) these school-wide activities because I think it has a greater impact on the entire staff culture. However, I do think many of these activities can be translated to a smaller scale, so if you are a grade level chair, if you are a department head, or if you are a part of the sunshine committee, then keep reading.
BUILDING STAFF CULTURE
My school leader sends out a request for shout-outs via email once a week. Staff members reply, and then all of the shout-outs are organized and sent out as part of our weekly email update. It’s an optional activity, but it is nice to reflect on what team members have done both in and out of their classrooms and to publicly share your gratitude. It’s also nice to see that you have been shouted out. 😉 Shout-outs don’t have to be done electronically! We also start each staff meetings with shout-outs.
Definitely a favorite of mine! I don’t have much to add here except that it is great when the administration pays for the appetizers. 🙂
Birthday buddies works similar to Secret Santa, but it is over the course of an entire year and for birthdays (obviously). What I like about birthday buddies is decorating your buddies classroom is highly encouraged!
Surprising Teachers Who Are Teaching
At my first school, I was part of the party planning committee; we called ourselves the FUNdamentals. On a particularly bummer week (maybe we were testing – I can’t remember), we purchased soda and vanilla ice cream, put everything on a cart, wheeled our cart to teachers’ classrooms, and made ready-to-order floats! It was a total surprise and a total hit! We sacrificed our planning period to do it, but it was so worth it!
If you have an active PTA, then this could be something you ask for volunteers.
Another initiative that we implemented as part of the FUNdamentals was Trick-or-Treat. Basically, we wrote down handfuls of “treats” for teachers. Examples include: getting a duty covered, having your copies made, and someone bringing you coffee. Then, we wrote equivalent amounts of “tricks” that paired with a treat. Example: covering someone’s duty, making someone’s copies, and bringing a coworker coffee. All of these tricks and treats were put in a pumpkin, and we all drew one! This was another opt-in activity, but it was simultaneously nerve-wracking and fun.
Last year, I was a part of the Reading Task Force. Our job was to promote literacy among students and staff. For one month, teachers were encouraged to read as much as possible and to take the associated Accelerated Reader quizzes. If grade levels reached a certain number of “read words”, then we earned lunch from a nearby restaurant. In addition, the Reading Task Force set up a book share in the teacher work rooms. Because of this book share, I was able to read The Handmaid’s Tale.
At one of my schools, there was a monthly luncheon hosted by the PTA (it could be organized by staff and admin). It was a soup and salad lunch, which meant the staff lunch area was lined with crock pots of soup, salads, and desserts. It was fairly easy to organize, the soup stayed hot, and it was a great time for staff to eat together.
- Our school has a fitness group that meets twice a week to work out.
- Secret Santa is a week-long celebration at my school.
- At the end of the year, leadership members present “awards” to staff. The awards are made from paper plates. They are usually themed. Last year, I earned the Fidgit Spinner Award (remember those?) because I help the team go ‘round. Other coworkers received awards like Slime and Bottle Flipping.
What are some ways that your school has promoted a positive staff culture? I would love to hear some more ideas in the comments and will be sure to update the post.