“Attitude is contagious.” ~ Chassie Selouane
This is a mantra that i use to guide my outlook on life. I use it constantly with my students, colleagues and administration. Your attitude directly affects your students, colleagues and that of your students’ parents’. A teacher’s job can be very stressful at times. From lesson and assessment planning to CPD sessions, PTA conferences to staff meetings, and the list goes on, it would seem as though there is not enough time to get all that is required done. Add to this the hustle and bustle of sharing a staffroom with 15 to 20 other teachers.
Constant motivation to stay positive is important in creating a positive staffroom environment. Here are a few ideas that may help in creating and maintaining a welcoming and vibrant staffroom experience.
Motivational posters and quotes are not just for the classroom walls. Encourage teachers in the staffroom to share some of their favourite motivational posters. You can create or designate a special board inside the staffroom for this. Having physical reminders that inspire and remind everyone to keep positive, is a good way to spread hope especially on long and challenging days.
Sharing a meal together is a good way to establish connections and maintain friendships. It also promotes a forum that allows you to learn more about your colleagues. Plan with staffroom colleagues to have a social-food event weekly, monthly or every academic term. It could be something as simple as placing a group order for takeout and collecting money, or perhaps a potluck for lunch or breakfast. This gives everyone something positive to look forward to, and can help relieve some of the mid-semester blues.
This is an excellent way to boost morale and camaraderie inside the staffroom. everyone loves being rewarded. Be creative in the award titles and areas of certificates such as; Best Dressed, Best Attitude, Hardest Worker, Most Humorous, Most Helpful, Most Friendly, and so on. Be consistent and try to give the awards on a monthly basis. You can create a staffroom blog on which you welcome nominations and post the photos of the awardees. After a while, most of your colleagues will look forward to them and the competition will hopefully help keep the attitude positive and friendly.
Night Out or Night In
Develop a social activity that you can do outside of school hours together. Schedule a bowling night for your staffroom colleagues and invite them to bring their families. Another great idea is to have a karaoke evening/night. This can be done with a karaoke machine inside the school library for our teachers. Teachers can pay a nominal fee that covers food and snacks. The benefit of this is simple. It boosts morale and allows teachers to bring their families for a night of fun.
Secret Pals is another way to create meaningful relationships inside the staffroom. Getting an unexpected gift, for many can be a welcomed treat. Create a list of participants and then draw names. The Secret Pals should agree to one gift or random acts of kindness in a month. The gift could be something as simple as a kind note, or a cup of coffee. Once per term you can have one larger gift at a price that all the participants agree to. To spice things up the pals can be revealed at the end of each term.
If your staffroom isn’t ready to implement organised activities, all hope is not lost. Remember, that one’s positive attitude can make a world of difference. Creating a positive staffroom environment ultimately begins with you. Find ways to encourage, support and do good deeds for your staffroom colleagues, because after all “attitude is contagious”!
By Chassie Selouane