How Can We Boost Staff Morale?
In this economy, we’ve
had to find more and
more ways to save
money and extend our
the most effective and
immediate ways to
save are to reduce staff
positions, slash budgets, increase teacher responsi-
bilities, and increase class sizes.
Many of our staff members have volunteered
to take on extra responsibilities. Because they are
grateful to simply have a job, they have been as
positive as one can imagine. However, the reality of
the upcoming challenges is setting in, and many are
feeling overwhelmed. The result? Morale is down in
the dumps. What can we do to improve staff morale?
Principal, Oakwood Junior High School
nights, and held backyard barbecues. We made a
point to laugh as well as commiserate.
Our situation eventually improved, and
many of the cut funds were restored. Although
we never regained all we had lost, we did gain
something from the experience. We talked more,
laughed more, and got to know one another
better. We supported one another through a difficult time and built a more supportive team and
more positive school environment. Now that we
again face rough financial times, we know from
experience that we can weather the storm by
remembering we’re all in it together.
A few years ago, our
district faced massive
budget cuts. Our grade
7–8 school lost 17 staff
members, our class sizes
were pushing 40, and
were eliminated. Morale
among the surviving staff was at an all-time low.
In the fall our students arrived—as always, full
of hope and excitement. We knew that although
the upcoming school year would be particularly difficult for us, our students had only one
chance to experience middle school. As a staff,
we decided to make an especially strong effort to
provide our students with a great year.
We adopted the mind-set that a positive
attitude was crucial to fulfilling our commitment
to students as well as to our own emotional
survival. Throughout the year, we arranged staff
social events. We went to ball games, had movie
When I became assistant principal at my school,
morale was at a rock-bottom low. Survey data
indicated that feeling unappreciated was the key
problem. Staff members wanted to know that
their extra efforts were not going unnoticed.
They didn’t mind doing more; they simply
wanted a thank you.
Each month in “Among
educators will draw from
their own experience
to share advice about
colleagues face. This
month’s participants are
some of the 2010 ASCD
Scholars ( www.ascd.org
To read additional
responses to this
month’s question and to
add your own advice, go
to ASCD’s InService blog