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Monthly Archives: July 2014
“Optimism is the foundation of all good teaching. Optimism in the face of daunting reality is downright heroic -and that , in fact is what good teachers practice all day long while others denigrate their contributions to society.”
– Rafe Esquith
Of course, there are plenty of ways to descibe morale and with teachers this may differ from day-to-day. As we move through the school year, inch closer to Christmas break even closer to Spring break and hear the final bell of the school year your mood is inevitably changing. However, teacher morale is displayed throughout the changes of these moods. Morale, regardless of the school, teacher, or grade level, is the mood in which you operate.
Teachers depend on morale, self-created or administratively manufactured to “get them through”. Mood, atmosphere, the “vibe”, all words used in lieu of morale, but all-in-all the same. As trivial as it may seem this morale is pivotal in the success and willingness of the staff to push beyond the barriers put in the way of teachers and our creativity in doing so. “Teacher morale…is not a function of practices designed to maintain or create it. It’s a by-product of being treated as leaders and being treated with respect. Teacher morale is the end product of empowering teachers to make decisions that affect their lives.” (Strasser)
From school to school and year to year, teacher morale may shift but for the most part it is a reflection of the inner-self of the staff. With less support, you are less likely to believe you can accomplish, complete, and flourish in your setting, but with the sustenance of the teacher himself being a concern you are likely to feel as if going the extra mile isn’t in vain.
We pose the question to you. What is teacher morale? Do you determine it for yourself?
Esquith, R. Can’t Wait for Monday. Educational Leadership, 71-20-22
Strasser, D. An Open Letter on Teacher Morale. Educational Leadership, 71,
We at 180 Days to Happy have a single goal, improve overall teacher morale. Although there are plenty of things to be said, very few choose to come to the teachers who are affected by such low or high morale. In this three-part series, we will address what teacher morale is, what the research says, and teacher input on how to “fix it”. We look forward to your input and comments….GET READY!!!!!!
Have a safe and enjoyable 4th of July
As I begin to contemplate the next school year, and in life in general, it can sometimes seem overwhelming. I can begin to think of the slew of email I’m sure are waiting in my school email, open-house hectiness (not sure that’s a word but I’m sure you understand), IEP’s, RTI, and allllll of the various acronyms I’m sure to learn about in the year to come. However, I have to find a way to keep moving. Some people move along easily, but what if it just seems impossible? Do we “dig deeper” or take a nap? I personally believe it becomes a bit of both!
At no point in life are we supposed to become SO overwhelmed that it isn’t fun, but in education burnout is common. It becomes apparent motivation and rest must be equally shared and here are a few keys to remain motivated.
1. Set small goals. There is nothing like the feel of sliding on a pair of jeans that’ve been too tight for awhile or completing your first half marathon, but all of these come after completing a group of small tasks. Those jeans may only fit after you’ve chose to eat right for three weeks in a row, incorporated two extra workouts a week, or maybe just decided to get moving. That half marathon can only be successfully completing after various increases in your runs, learning how to fuel your body, or maybe getting in a running group. Choose one new thing to start and stay consistent for a set amount of time before you measure growth, it’s bound to happen.
2,You have to start somewhere, but the key is starting! So, you’ve spent all Summer perusing the beautiful classrooms on Pinterest and you aim to have yours as the model classroom on the hall…then you suddenly realize I have no idea how to make this happen on my budget. Often we get so overwhelmed with the overall picture, we forget there are various small things we can do in the process of completion. Pinpoint a few things you CAN accomplish from your inspiration and do them! Then go back and revisit the idea, chances are you will find a way to make it work if you’re still in love with the idea or perhaps inspiration will have struck again! Just start!
3. Phone a friend. In education and in life in general, everything is better in two’s (or more). As long as I’ve been teaching, I can remember having a “work-mom” or a core group of teachers I can communicate with. We have communicated via text, send reminders for meetings, and are simply an ear at times, but in general we are just there for each other. These aquaintances often become much more than friends, but they are also motivation when we’re feeling down which is key when feeling unmotivated. Find a buddy, phone a friend and push each other to triumph.
What keeps you motivated?
Share your keys to remain motivated in tough times!
Today I stumbled across an article on Facebook dealing with education. Most of the time I simply ignore these, since they’re usually shared by someone not in education or I don’t really have time to read it (what’s new, I’m a teacher). However, Summer break affords me the priviledge of having time to spare. I started reading the post nonchalantly, but was intrigued when the writer stated he’d won teacher of the year 4 out of 6 of the previous years, but was still leaving the classroom!
“Every workplace has its imperfections and challenges. I accept that.
But public education is painted as a career where you make
a difference in the lives of students. When a system becomes
so deeply flawed that students suffer and good teachers leave
(or become jaded), we must examine how and why we do things.”
To me, this summed up just about every thing I too think about education, yet I’m not leaving. I haven’t won any accolades, I have two children whom often receive the brunt of everything we do for our students at school, yet I’m not leaving. I have been underpaid, switched districts and recieved less money even though I was taking the same job, yet I’m not leaving. I say this to say, why am I still in this “game”. We are often treated as the apple of the world, but paid less than many people with less education and fewer responsibilities. Yet, I’m not leaving. As I move to provide myself with motivation and guidance through the school year, and even through the summer, I often have to dig deep and find some intrisic motivation to stay afloat. Often this intrisic motivation shows itself as flip through my contact log and see students from years past whom I find myself wondering how their progressing or seeing on the news that I’m FINALLY getting a 3% increase (thank goodness).
Now I pose the question to you.
Why are you not leaving? What is it that pushes you?
So you’ve landed at 180 Days to Happy, thanks! This website is devoted to teachers, school leaders, and support staff who endeavor to make every day of the school year a success. Throughout the course of the school year, we will focus on one area of our teacher life where we can work to improve our overall happiness and boost teacher morale. You may be asking, how exactly is what I do at work going to make me happy? Or how can I possibly squeeze ANYTHING else into my already packed day. Well, we aim to compile big areas where small changes can impact you with the most return! Here’s your chance to not only make your classroom an environment which encourages learning, but for you to learn in a non-invasive, yet self-improving manner!
Welcome to 180 Days to Happy!