A big part of your staff’s morale in the classroom comes from the support and encouragement they get from their colleagues. Teachers work well in a team atmosphere and draw energy from their collaboration with their fellow educators.
But what happens when your staff finds themselves in a unique situation such as a school closure? Distance learning brings its own set of unique challenges, not the least of which is the virtual disbanding of your team. While your teachers will undoubtedly rise to the occasion, finding innovative and creative ways to deliver lessons to their students, one thing that will be missing is regular contact with their colleagues. How do you boost staff morale during school closures?
Great Ideas to Boost Staff Morale
Even though your staff is valiantly teaching through their challenges, they could probably use a little more connection to their work family. All of their normal means of socialization during the workday and beyond have been eliminated for the time being. Here are five tips to help them feel connected again:
Get everyone in one collaborative space
There are plenty of options out there for virtual teaching, and your staff has likely found the ones that work best for their classrooms. But what if there was someplace they could go (virtually) to get a brain break? Creating a space for your staff to check-in, share recipes, videos, memes, and express gratitude can help boost staff morale. A virtual teacher’s lounge can help them to step away from the dual roles of work-at-home educator and family caretaker. An online virtual bulletin board like Padlet is perfect for this.
Set up some staff challenges
Your teachers are busy creating fun and engaging ways to reach their students online. Wouldn’t it be great to give them a little bit of the same fun? Challenge your staff to some fun contests, like six-word stories, best student response, and themed memes.
Play virtual games
Organize short breaks in which your staff gathers for online games. Using a platform like Zoom, you can play games like Pictionary or Bingo or do a trivia contest on Kahoot. You can also host an online scavenger hunt, seeking items most people have at home.
Take a coffee break together
As distance learning moves into a long-term situation, your staff will likely develop a new routine for their days. Use a common period of downtime to get together with your staff for a virtual coffee break, where you chat and catch up, and ultimately boost staff morale. Just seeing everyone’s face can be a mood-lifter.
Sometimes you just need one set of listening ears. Check-in with your teachers on a one-on-one basis, just to see how they’re doing. This can be a great way to find out what their individual challenges are and how you can help them. And don’t underestimate the power of a handwritten note, sent by mail, to boost their morale!
Connection and Encouragement From a Distance
Even from their homes, your teachers are making a difference in the lives of their students. During a long-term school closure, they need opportunities to connect with their coworkers. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate plan in order to be effective.
Schools using PBIS Rewards can take advantage of the Workplace Rewards for Teachers feature included in our software. It’s a great way to recognize their efforts and give them rewards for their hard work.
Once long-term distance learning ends and your staff and students are back in the classroom, your school community can be stronger than ever. Encouraging and supporting your staff during this time can make all the difference!