If you're anything like me, you're not quite ready to think about BACK TO SCHOOL yet. The truth is, however, like most educators, I begin thinking about it long before the previous year even comes to a close. I think that's how we teachers roll. I hope your year was successful and you find yourself looking forward to the new one. As much as we look forward to new beginnings, the truth is, I find a lot of educators are quite stressed in the work place. As more and more demands are being placed on teacher and student outcomes, the more challenging it can be to keep calm, be encouraged, and see a light at the end of the tunnel. There are many articles and ideas out there for how to create a positive work environment that are easily applicable to a school culture. I love the freebie E book 52 Ways to a Positive Work Culture," by Baudville. It contains some simple reminders about the importance of staring your day right, practicing teamwork, and keeping a positive attitude.
There's also a book for purchase available called, Shaping School Culture: The Heart of Leadership, written by Terrence Deal and Kent Peterson. (Available at Amazon, and most book stores). This book addresses the critical importance of the cultural aspects that bind a school community together. It's based on 20 years of research and real-life cases. If you're a leader in your school or part of a leadership team in your building, this is a worthwhile read!
Last year for us, the year seemed to start off a little rocky. Between implementing a new reading series, trying to get a handle on Common Core, new administration, and the list goes on, teachers quickly found themselves overwhelmed, exhausted, frightened, and uncertain. How are we combating this for this coming school year? One way was that someone in our district actually began an "Educators for Excellence" Facebook group over the summer. It's a POSITIVE and ENCOURAGING posts only for our district. It's designed to celebrate the successes and share positive solutions to existing issues. It went from a few members to a few thousand members in a matter of a couple of weeks! The group now even has shirts and bumper stickers available to its members that proudly state, "I LOVE MY JOB!"
One of my personal goals this year to help get our immediate building staff started off on a better foot, is to use some (FREEBIE) ADORABLE cards that I can distribute throughout the year. They contain encouraging and uplifting comments that can easily be added alongside an inexpensive treat to share with a colleague. (Who doesn't love a little chocolate, or chips, a Diet Coke, or a nice new pen to grade papers with when you least expect it?) You can use them anonymously, sign your name, create a "Secret Pal" type situation where EVERYONE commits to using at least 3-5 cards throughout the school year for their secret buddy. Then, have a reveal party at the end of the year! :-) However you use them, they're sure to lift somebody's spirits and nurture a positive environment. So have FUN with them!
What are some things your school does to promote a positive school culture? Readers would love to hear! Please post any suggestions or ideas below!
Best of luck for a wonderful new school year.
Bananas for this quote, "Positive anything is better than negative nothing." -Elbert Hubbard