After two busy months of preparing for a new school year, October can bring feelings of stress and frustration. It’s the month when we begin to count the number of days in the long stretch until Thanksgiving. Some teachers are fortunate to get a fall break that typically falls during this month, but others of us may not even get one day off. This makes October a great time to boost the staff’s morale with a few fun activities and opportunities to encourage teachers.
A. Special Parking: There’s nothing like not having to worry about where to park, especially when it is close to the front door or your classroom. Consider reserving a few preferred parking spots and designate them with a sign that says, “Reserved for ________________’s (school name) Best!” Then place each teacher’s name in a hat, and each week, draw out names (equal to the number of reserved spots) to provide a week of reserved parking.
B. Duty-Free Pass: Whether it’s before school duty, after school duty, recess, or the dreaded lunch duty, having a duty is not the most exciting of tasks. Giving teachers an opportunity to earn a duty-free day is sure to bring a smile to their faces. Even just having someone take a teacher’s class out to recess so that the teacher can get a little extra work time is a sure-fire way to make someone’s day.
C. Jean Day Pass: Depending on the culture of your campus and your required dress, a free jeans day pass is a great way to alleviate a little stress. I know for me personally, I always enjoyed working at places where there was a uniform or an established weekly schedule of outfits, such as school shirts, team shirts, and college shirts, because it makes my morning preparations so much easier. In addition, it always seems as though putting on a pair of jeans, even with a nice shirt and a jacket, brings about a more relaxed attitude.
D. Special Lunch: Remember the old saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”? I truly believe that a good meal can improve anyone’s attitude. And, just like with the free jeans day pass, knowing that you can skip a day of microwave meals or salads can bring about a lot of happiness. Consider putting together a themed-meal (pot luck or catered) or, even cooler, think about bringing in a food truck. Can’t you just see those happy faces!
E. Treats in the Lounge or Fun Food Bars: Due to the nature of our jobs, many teachers tend to be grazers and like to enjoy snacks throughout the day. Consider organizing a frozen yogurt bar with your typical yogurt shop toppings, a snack mix bar with popcorn, nuts, Chex, pretzels, M & Ms, Goldfish, chocolate chips, etc , or even a chips and dips bar for teachers to peruse throughout the day. Yum!
F. Aromatherapy Station in the Lounge: Time to get your pamper on! Arrange to have a chiropractor or masseuse set-up shop in your teacher’s lounge and provide free 5 -15 minute sessions for teachers. Be sure to include some aromatherapy candles, scents, and scrubs to enhance the experience.
G. Brag Board: Sometimes the simplest way to brighten someone’s day is to recognize them for doing something great. Teachers work so hard and rarely get recognized for the work that they do. Consider creating a bulletin board in the teacher’s lounge or a common area where teachers can affix personal messages of praise for their colleagues.
I. Sonic Drinks: I don’t know if Sonic is just a Texas specialty or not, but offering a teacher a Sonic drink is like telling her, “There’s no school tomorrow!” Sonic is the hands-down favorite for fun and uniquely flavored drinks. In fact, their website boasts that they serve more than 1,063,953 drink and slush combinations. This means there is a drink to excite everyone’s test buds. If you use this idea, consider handing out the drinks around lunch to give teachers a couple of hours to enjoy them and the oh-so-perfect ice. (Trust me, you have to check it out for yourself!)
Looking for an idea for October? Check out this hilarious video!
Don’t see the video above? Click here!
A group of well-intentioned teachers may be able to implement some of these ideas, but be sure to share these ideas with your social committee or administrative team. They may be willing to use some of the ideas with the staff.
Sound Off! What are your favorite activities to boost staff morale?