Magic is happening in classrooms across the country every day. May is a great time to celebrate the magic makers; the ones who stay late each night to make sure lessons are differentiated and “just right” to engage all learners. Those educators that worry each night about their students’ well-being outside the classroom. Teachers who show up early to help students with homework and are masters at eating a lunch in 8 minutes or going all day without using the restroom.
With the declining number of college students entering the teaching profession, this is a good time to stop and think about how we can take care of each other, show gratitude and promote a positive working culture. Here are a few ways to appreciate the magic makers in your school:
- Celebrate the Small Moments- As Kid President says, "Make the world more awesome." We can make our world more awesome by acknowledging staff that are visible in the hallways, by greeting each other with a smile and hello and by telling them we are glad to see them. PBIS reinforcements can be used to celebrate teachers too. At any point in the day, our staff can be seen writing each other Mustang Marks stating why they appreciate them or thanking them for something they’ve done. At our monthly staff meetings we draw several out of a bucket and they receive a little something to go with it.
- Teacher Trolley-Load up a cart with all sorts of teacher goodies and travel from room to room. Popular items to consider: candies, gum, pop, therapy putty, special pens/markers, chips, etc. We implemented this idea this year and it is amazing what joy a little flair pen can bring to someone’s day! Have fun with it and walk around the school with cowbells, foam fingers and wigs to change it up.
- Jeans Passes/Bust Out Early on a Plan Day Passes are also popular! I swear, some days it seems like these are just as valuable as the golden tickets from Willy Wonka – especially on days when it is snowy, cold and everyone has to walk up hill (both ways) to get to school. Create your own or use these FREE staff appreciation coupons.
- Demonstrate Flexibility-Remember, we are all humans who have families and sometimes life happens. We have high expectations for our staff, but family comes first. Encourage pre-planning, problem solving and team work to assist with coverage when necessary.
- Lead by Example- Your attitude, good, bad or ugly sets the stage for the day not just for you, but for everyone you encounter. Build time into your schedule to intentionally invest in building relationships with the adults who work the magic. Get to know them, ask about their families, their interests and passion for teaching and children. Just like with lesson planning, this knowledge is great to have when planning professional development and team building (yes, I just said team building.)
As we wrap up spring assessments and head into the last few months of the school year, I encourage you to find one idea to implement that can create the spark of magic to support and appreciate the magic makers.
Do you have something amazing that you’re doing in your building to promote a positive work environment and recognize staff? If so, snap a picture, add the hashtag #ThrivingCulture and tweet it out so we can all steal it and add it to our little book of ideas!