What do we want?
∙ To be humanized!
∙ To be respected, not penalized, for boundary-setting!
∙ Less bureaucracy, more individuality!
∙ An assessment evolution that values the whole-child!
When do we want it?
Disclaimer: Staff morale goes so, so much deeper than pizza days and high fives. It begins with a systemic shift from the standardized tests and unrealistic expectations that stifle us and lead to burn out because it leaves us physically and emotionally unable to best provide for ourselves and our students.
I’m here to share some small, meaningful ideas that will certainly not shape the entire scope and dynamic of your teaching staff, but will hopefully bring some smiles to our haggard faces as we just try our best to get by.
Adulting ain’t easy and so it’s crucial that we take a step back from this hustle culture that plagues us, rushes us and removes what is most valuable by overdelivering what isn’t. These funny stickers for teachers and grown ups help us focus on the little wins that often feel big. Includes “I wore a bra”; “I dropped it like it was hot” (ironed); “I pushed it real good” (vaccuumed). I used stickers like these during a staff meeting soft entry and had so much positive feedback.
In addition to the stickers, (fittingly #2 in this category), these FREE toilet paper posters started as a joke, but are making a great imPOOct on general daily well-being for the following reason: the toilet paper is a symbol. Going to the washroom is a need. When our basic needs are not met, how are we expected to thrive and to help our students do the same? So spoil your fellow co-workers with some 2 or 3-ply for a change.
Anyways, to grab this free mini set of TPT teacher appreciation toilet paper posters, click the image below.
✲ With Frequency: Affirmation Station for Busy Adults
As consistency is critical to making an impact with our students, so is showing appreciation and gratitude on a regular basis for our fellow staff members. But who has the time, despite our positive intentions? By setting up an affirmation station for teachers (or staffirmation station), we are able to, in a small way, reaffirm them and lift their spirits in the most low-maintenance way. Simply print them out (on colored paper if you want to give them to pop) and tape them around the mirror.
✲ With an Unexpected Treat
Sunshine carts are such an engaging and fun way to show your teaching and counseling staff appreciation. Simply use these beautiful boho printables to put together a cart with treats and drinks to boost the mood.
✲ With Small Tokens of Appreciation: Gift Tags for Teachers
Gifts are some people’s love language. For myself, the less grandiose and more personal, the more thoughtful. For those looking to spread cheer on a budget, I have teacher appreciation gift tags for you to level them up.
Is there a tag that you’d like to see in this set? Add your idea to the comments below!
Writing kind notes on coffee sleeves is a fabulous way of leveling up a tea party in the staff room. Positive affirmations can be written by colleagues or students as a small, but powerful gesture that everyone can take home as a keepsake. Here is a beautiful example from StitchPlayAZ.
If you're looking for an activity that promotes teamwork, try this engaging collaborative art project to your learning buddies, lunch bunch groups or small counseling groups to support gratitude.
We also love these wine tags for those teachers who need something a little stronger...
✲ With Icebreakers That Aren't Lame: Tabletop Dice Prompts
Casually leave these out at tables before staff meetings begin, or in teacher/ staff lounges to promote positive team-building conversations (I'm looking at you, Moaning Myrtle and Toxic Tanya). Teachers will simply roll the die and respond to the prompt.
✲ With Calming Tools: Adult Coloring Pages
Uninterrupted coloring has the capacity to ease the fear center of your brain. While focusing on the strokes and colors, you are essentially inducing a mini meditation which halts the flight or fight responses you might otherwise have. Warning: this particular set of coloring pages are cheeky and may have some swear words. They are meant less for the classroom and more for the staffroom/ at home (best paired with Pinot).
✲ With a Break:
Let’s be real- time is the most valuable asset. Here are some experiences that you have shared that have filled your heart with appreciation:
⇢ Duty coverage, etc.
⇢ POLLS to assess the mental health of your staff and their needs; their favorites (e.g., candies, pop, office supplies)
⇢ Spontaneous coffee runs
⇢ Daily or weekly yoga or walking clubs
⇢ Drop-in weekly or monthly staff happy hour (off-campus)
⇢ “Wellness Wednesdays” or "Sunshine Carts" to offer some baked goods and set up and inviting space with free tea and coffee
⇢ Inspirational quotes or staff shout-outs on the staffroom bulletin board
⇢ Random love notes from staff (just add a pen)
⇢ Collaborative love graffiti from students (just write the teacher's name in the middle)
⇢ Create a calm corner for adults
⇢ Host an Oscar's-style staff meeting and have small awards (we made ours by printing on magnets) that the team members previously elected them for through Google Forms (e.g., Most likely to have shares in the liquor store; Most likely to have shares in Starbucks; Most likely to leave teaching for comedy)
A TPT staff morale growing bundle to save you time (& money):
See how you can transform your staff lounge at the post below:
Which is your favorite? Let me know below!