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Wednesday, July 12, 2023

9 Ways to Boost Staff Morale During the New School Year

Fall is the busiest time of the year if you're a teacher or a school administrator! Since we all know our time is limited when August hits, I'm a big fan of prepping things ahead of time to use throughout the year. While you don't want to spend your whole summer preparing for the school year, there are a few great ways to prepare for those busy months and start the year with high staff morale right off the bat! Here are 9 simple ways to prep during the summer months and boost staff morale this fall! 

Ready to have the best school year with your teachers yet? Use these 9 awesome ways to boost staff morale this fall to rock this school year.

Why Focus on Staff Morale?

In the busiest time of the year, staff morale is something that can be easy to forget. There's an endless to-do list and limited time, so why should we spend our precious time on staff morale?! So glad you asked! 

First off, your staff members are in the busiest time of the year too!  They also have an endless to-do list and the added pressure to getting everything ready, meeting students and parents, and pleasing you, the admin.  Taking a couple of minutes to acknowledge what they are going through goes a long way!

When I was the head of our school Sunshine Committee for many years, I was always looking for fun ways to engage our staff, bring people together, and share small gestures of kindness. Paying it forward with small acts of gratitude is the BEST way to set the tone for a great year! 

Whether you're a teacher looking to spread some cheer, a school administrator, or a PTO member, you'll love these simple ways to keep staff morale high. These ideas are inexpensive, simple to prep, and will help demonstrate thoughtfulness and kindness throughout your building to get the year started off right!

1. Stock the Fridge 

This is one of my favorite simple things to prep during the summer months that really makes a huge impact on staff morale! 

Use fun signs like these to let your teachers know there are awesome goodies waiting for them which will definitely help boost staff morale!
During the summer months, stock up on a variety of beverages and print off some of these fun signs. When you're ready to use this staff morale booster, fill your fridge and hang the signs. Post the signs in the staff lounge, in the office, and in other high-traffic areas around your building. 

These signs will alert staff that there are cold beverages provided for them in the staff lounge. I've found this simple act of kindness helps to re-energize staff and get them excited for the new year. 

A great time to do this is when the school opens up and staff are prepping before the kids are back. There's nothing better than grabbing an ice-cold, free drink after spending a day working in your classroom! 

You can also use these signs throughout the year for staff in-service days, special events, or simply to add some cheer to a regular week. 

2. Prep Welcome Back Poems

Next up, this is another super simple staff morale booster to prep this summer! 

Welcome back poems like these are a great way to boost staff morale by showing your staff how much you appreciate them.
Just print this poem off on some paper and fold the copies ahead of time. 

This is a great activity to do while you're watching a movie, or relaxing by the pool. 

I'm a big fan of multitasking things like this to help make the most of your summer break while getting ready for fall! 

Store them away until the first week of school. 

Then, the night before the first day tuck these cute little poems into every staff member's mailbox as a way to welcome them back. 

This is a great way to kick off the year and only takes a few minutes to prepare!

3. Build Staff Morale Welcome Baskets

This next idea is perfect for the first week of school, or while the staff is preparing over the summer. I liked to prep a few of these Welcome Baskets and place them in high-traffic areas in our building. The baskets were filled with essentials we all needed during the long hours we spent at school. Some of the things in the baskets include:

Welcome baskets like these will help boost staff morale by showing your teachers how much you appreciate them right off the bat.
  • soap 
  • lint rollers
  • stain remover 
  • static guard
  • hand sanitizer 
  • dental floss 
  • hand lotion
  • and more 
The ideas are literally endless! I liked to swing by the dollar store and find a variety of fun and inexpensive goodies to fill these baskets. 

You can shrink-wrap the baskets if desired, and add a gift tag. Then distribute them to teams, or place them in staff bathrooms and the staff lounge for everyone to share. This idea is really fun for new staff members too. Make new staff members their very own basket to welcome them to your school!

4. Make a Staff Shout-Out Board 

One of the best ways to boost staff morale is by simply recognizing a job well done. 

A staff shout-out board like these makes everyone feel special throughout the year and will help boost staff morale not only at the beginning of the year but throughout.
Taking the time to show your appreciation for kind acts of service means so much to staff and teachers alike! My favorite method for getting this trend going is with a staff shout-out board. 

This idea encourages staff and teachers to find ways to thank and compliment each other regularly. 

To prep this one over the summer, all you need to do to print off a shout-out board from this resource and hang it in a central location. 

If you are able, it's best to enlarge the printable to poster size and place it in a frame. I liked to leave a stack of Post-its, and some colorful markers alongside it too. 

Add a few shout-outs yourself to get the process going, and watch the compliments pile up! 

5. Create a Staff Sunshine Corner

If you're making a staff shout-out board, I highly recommend creating a "Sunshine Corner" too! 

Create a sunshine corner like these for a fun and easy ongoing way to boost staff morale in your school this year.
This little area is a great place to hang your staff shout-out board, along with other fun announcements and information. 

To make a sunshine corner in your building, locate an empty wall in the staff lounge or office. Grab some cute bulletin board supplies and decorate to your liking. 

Add a fun heading that says "Sunshine Corner" with these letters and gather any other important info to display. 

In the past, I've posted our district calendar, announcements, the shout-out board, and reminders for goodies available in the fridge. Staff will love checking the board for new announcements each week! 

This is a great spot to place a coffee cart, or any other special treats you have available for staff as well. 

6. Make a Kindness Plate 

Another great morale booster to start on your campus is the Kindness Plate.  It's an anonymous (or not anonymous) RAK (Random Act of Kindness) activity that goes on all year long!  

To get started all you need is one or more kindness plates.  You can make one yourself at a paint-your-own pottery store or create one through a service like Shutterfly.  You can even grab a special plate from a local thrift store and tag it as the Kindness Plate.  The plate is really just the starting place for this kindness activity. 

A kindness plate like this is the perfect way to show your staff how much you appreciate them with a special treat.
Here's the idea: the Kindness Plate gets filled with a special treat, lunch, office supplies, or anything really.  Then it gets left for a teacher or staff member.  That person gets to enjoy everything on the plate.  Then it is their turn to fill the Kindness Plate and share it with someone else. 

It's a great way to encourage a fellow staff member, say thank you to someone who went above and beyond, or just spread some kindness.  You can start the "train" of kindness yourself or have them available for staff to grab when they want to use one.

On my campus, we had 5 Kindness Plates that stayed in rotation all year long.  Our general rule of thumb was that once received, the kindness plate would be filled and passed on within a week.  It was always an uplifting and encouraging surprise to find the Kindness Plate on your desk or in your mailbox.

If you are looking for an easy way to spread kindness and encouragement on your campus, this is a great one.

7. Plan a Teacher Yard Sale 

Looking for a way to help teachers prepare for the school year and repurpose items around the school?

Planning a teacher yard sale is a great way to get your teachers together and boost staff morale at the beginning of the year.
Consider planning a teacher yard sale prior to the first week of school. 

In this event, teachers will donate unused items from their own classrooms to share with others. 

If they find they have a large stock of things that aren't needed, this is the perfect opportunity to clean them out! 

The old saying, "One person's trash is another person's treasure" applies here and is so true! This event is both fun and social for staff, while also helping boost staff morale and find some fun items to use in the classroom. 

This resource has everything you need to make planning your yard sale simple. Included you'll find advertisement signs, sign-up sheets, step-by-step directions, and more!

8. Book a Coffee Truck 

Everyone loves coffee, right?! This couldn't be more true at the beginning of the school year! As a fun welcome-back activity, I liked to book a traveling coffee truck to visit the school. This one will require some funding, but planning ahead during the summer usually makes it more feasible! 

Show your teachers and staff how much you appreciate them with a super special coffee truck.
Look in your local area to find a truck that's willing to visit your school. Your administration or PTO can pre-pay for each teacher and staff member to be able to get a beverage of their choosing. Our staff purchased their own drinks. The opportunity to get coffee at school was a treat in itself. 

You may need to arrange for coverage as staff members go get their coffee treat, or send the menu out ahead of time and have volunteers bring orders to each person that morning. 

Alternatively, the truck can arrive at a designated time before the first bell rings. 

I liked to arrange this event during week two of back to school. The first week is chaotic, and everyone is just trying to find a groove. 

The second week is a great time to show staff they are appreciated after the dust settles a bit. 

No matter how you structure it, this one will be a BIG hit, and make all of your staff members feel appreciated as they fall back into the school routine! 

9. Grab Some Chalk Markers 

Last, but not least - this is a SUPER simple tip that makes a big impact. 

Uses chalk markers like these to leave special notes for your staff all around the school which will help boost staff morale throughout the year.
Over the summer, keep your eyes out for some chalk markers. Stock up on these or grab them on Amazon. 

At the beginning of the school year, spend some time leaving messages for staff on bathroom mirrors, or windows in the staff areas. 

You can leave encouraging notes, jokes, or other positive messages. 

Set a note in your calendar to swap these out from time to time to keep it interesting and fun. You can also make the markers available for others to join in the fun.

This is a simple way to make your staff members smile and start the year off with great staff morale!

Even More Staff Morale Resources

Are you feeling energized and excited to try some of these staff morale-boosting activities this year? I sure hope so! Taking some time to prep a few of these over the summer will have a big impact come fall! If you LOVE these ideas and are looking for even more, be sure to check out the Staff Morale SUPER Bundle!

Grab this Super Staff Morale Booster Bundle for tons of amazing ways to boost staff morale this fall.

The bundle includes 26 resources to help encourage, motivate, and thank staff all year long. You'll find all of the ideas included in this post and more to help inspire you and prepare for a great year. Using these activities and resources is a great way to keep staff morale high all year long!

Save This Post 

This post is filled with fun ideas that make boosting staff morale easy! Pin this post on Pinterest to save these ideas and come back to them when you're in need of inspiration. 

Looking for fun ways to show your teachers and staff how much you appreciate them this year? Use these ideas to boost staff morale this fall and throughout the entire school year to show your staff just how much you appreciate everything they do to make your school the amazing place it is. #tarynsuniquelearning #waystobooststaffmorale #teacherappreciation

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