Dr. Matthew X. Joseph – Follow on Twitter @MatthewXJoseph
Today Sylvia Ellison @SylviaEllison asked the question on the #hacklearning daily chat
Q1 What are some practical “hacky” ways we build positive environments that support educators and help avoid burn out? 280 characters were not enough for my answer – so added a blog post. Here are a few ideas leaders you CAN put into place tomorrow to add fun into the work environment.
Game Day Staff Meeting
Staff meetings are a way to get information to everyone, but you can also do this in an email or a shared cloud document. Use that hour to host a staff meeting game day with activities ranging from trivia to video bowling or even corn hole in the hallway. Mix in funny, unique prizes to display for continued bragging rights. Allowing staff to participate in some friendly workplace games can help build a greater sense of community and feeling of Us.
Once, I was at a loss for an idea and didn’t want to just talk about random school “stuff” because we had a scheduled meeting. I went into the supply closet and grabbed an assortment of office supplies and thought, “What can we do with these?” I remembered a high school science project of building a structure out of a stick of balsa wood. How could I duplicate that in a team challenge? I split the staff into teams, gave each team an egg, and set up the office supply challenge. The rules were simple: Use up to 10 items to build a soft structure to see how high you could get the egg to drop and not break. We had a lot of laughs and, without thinking about it, improved our communication and critical-thinking skills.
Take A Staff Field Trip
When you have a half- or full-day PD, go enjoy something fun away from the office. Not necessarily the movie, but something in your community that matches your goals. If your focus is social emotional learning, visit someone in the community that can give a talk to supports. If you are looking at improving two-way communication, visit a real estate agency or a local business to talk about customer service. Staff productivity and motivation can decay when confined to the school library every time a PD day rolls around. Spending time away from the school with colleagues can be a positively refreshing experience and show them you value your job satisfaction and relevant learning. And maybe sometimes just surprise them and meet at the mini golf course for an hour of fun. At every hole have a theme for them to talk about, such as best lesson idea or a great book you read. Having fun as a team can go a long way toward improving morale and enchaining culture.
Introducing fun into the school is an excellent opportunity to shift the usual way of doing things by setting aside time for fun activities. Doing so can raise employees’ level of happiness, resulting in an increase of productivity, retention rates and overall positive feelings toward the school, colleagues, and students.