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For School Leaders, Five Ways to Keep Teachers Jolly Over the Holidays
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Elora Tocci – December 10, 2018
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It's no secret that the holidays are a tough time of year for teachers. The excitement of a new school year has worn off, and the demands of the job have only intensified — all while the frenzy of gift buying and cookie baking swirls in the air like snow.

But in a season of joy and gratitude, there are lots of little things principals and administrators can do to bring more of both to their teachers, and pave the way to a great 2019. Below are just a few of the ways we’ve heard school leaders here at Success Academy have shown appreciation for their teachers in the run-up to winter break. We’re feeling jolly already.

Record voice messages from kids. During lunch, recess, or another time when teachers are out of the room, have students record voice memos to their teachers thanking them for their work and talking about their favorite moments in their classroom. Send them the day before teachers head off on break. They’ll start vacation on a high and, as a bonus, can replay these messages whenever they need a boost.

Do a “positive pop-in.” Stop by teachers’ rooms and give them the rundown of all the ways they’ve been crushing their jobs. Particularly for first year teachers, remind them of all the progress they have made in just a few months. In only a few minutes, you’ll have helped teachers remember how far they’ve come and send them into the holidays with a smile.

Turn a staff meeting into a celebration. Use a routine staff meeting to surprise your team with food, drinks, recognition, or even just time to relax. Take a moment to acknowledge their accomplishments and share your profound gratitude for their incredible work. If you can’t spare the entire meeting, that’s okay — your team will enjoy even a partial break from regularly scheduled programming to unwind.

Get your teachers a few of their favorite things. Know your teachers’ favorite color, candy, or coffee shop? Surprise them with a small gift featuring one of their favorites. They’ll be touched you remembered their preferences, and will surely enjoy a bag of Reese’s to keep at their desks or a free cup of coffee when they’re back at it in January.

Think big about the future. With New Year’s resolutions just around the corner, now is a great time to talk to teachers about what ideas they have for the future and what changes they think would help the school. Making sure your teachers know their ideas are valued and feasible will help give them the energy they need to end the calendar year strong.

Small gestures can't replace the major things teachers need to stay happy and thriving — great training, consistent coaching, opportunities to grow and develop. But they are a great way to show appreciation for the mountain-moving work your teachers do and will help them start the New Year off right.

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