During these tough and uncertain times teacher life can feel overwhelming. You’re managing extra workload as well as managing your own emotions and those of the children, that makes the stress levels rise.
When things are so far from normal for teachers, uniting as a team with the rest of your school staff can help to get you through. Here are a few things you can try to boost teacher morale within your teaching team.
Kindness is always needed, but during stressful times it’s even more vital that we look out for each other. Can your staff offer support with little acts of kindness during the week? Perhaps you could secretly leave gifts around the school for each other, make a pamper hamper for each member of staff or offer to do gate, lunch or playground duty for someone that’s having a tough day. Maybe each teacher is given a token each week to cash in and leave early one day or each of you pick a name out of a hat and then do little things throughout the day to make that person's day special. Or could you grant each member of the team a well-being day to be taken when they choose to do something to support their mental health?
Remember you’re all in the same boat, supporting each other and just being there to talk or listen can go a long way. Setting aside time to talk together or instead of a staff meeting just having time to identify problems, voice any concerns or worries or to have a good old moan to get it off your chest before heading home will work wonders. Get some coffee and cake involved too or even a takeaway for the meeting. What about a weekly well-being raffle? All staff pick a ticket and at the end of the week a winner is drawn. Prizes could include a well-being day, school dinners for a week or an extra PPA session!
It’s important to seek support outside of school if you’re stretched. Speak to your local counselling service and see if they can offer a therapy session where a therapist can focus your team conversation. You can also find lots of resources online to help.
During stressful and strange times it’s nice to do things just because they make you feel good. It’s a real morale booster! If you find something that makes you, your team or your pupils happy then do more of it. A dress down day, feel good Fridays, games afternoon in class or a team breakfast in the staff room once a week. Remember - you’re doing what you can so celebrate the little victories, even if that’s just making it to the end of the week.
As teachers you’re used to additional workload, but reducing anything that’s unnecessary and adding to the stress, even if it's temporary - is a must. Reduce staff meetings where possible and send notes online instead. If a meeting isn’t 100% needed, cancel or reschedule it. Allowing staff to take PPA at home can help. Focusing on feedback in class and self marking can help reduce marking too!
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