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“Morale and attitude are fundamentals to success.”
― Bud Wilkinson
A school can be a complicated place. There aren’t many jobs where you surround yourself with hundreds of children every day!
But like any other place of “business”, a school needs to think about how they will keep their staff feeling good about where they work and how they are doing their job. We all know that teaching can, at times, be quite stressful for the teachers.
When you are feeling good about your workplace and job performance, everyone benefits; namely the students, but also your colleagues and bosses. But when teachers are stressed out and with low morale about working at their school, typically nobody benefits.
You can, of course, be in high spirits on your own doing. But it is important to feel valued by the whole school community as that plays a factor as well. Feeling like you are part of a team can help you stay optimistic at your school.
What, then, do international schools do to make sure their staff is feeling valued?
International School Community is full of thousands of useful and informative comments…48609 (11 September 2023) to be exact. We scoured our database of comments, and we found nine that stood out to us as being some of the coolest ways to show appreciation and boost staff morale.
9. International School of Ulaanbaatar (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) – 37 Total Comments
“We have events committees that all teachers are required to be part of. Some of these committees host whole school parties and events. We have our annual Winter Party and Tsagaan Sar (Mongolia’s traditional White Moon celebration usually in February). This past year the Athletic Director held a staff vs. student volleyball match after school which was a huge boost to our community…”
8. Singapore American School (Singapore) – 370 Total Comments
“The incredible WOW (Work on Wellness) team is constantly arranging outings, workshops, sessions, and activities to bring the community together and provide enriching experiences for staff (and often their family members too!) From Film Festivals to Art workshops to nature tours, meditation retreats, and nature excursions, there’s always something on offer. Most are free, some have a small charge…”
7. American School of Madrid (Madrid, Spain) – 106 Total Comments
“ASM offers staff the use of the school gym when students are not using it. There are also several offerings of events organized and advertised by staff members. These can be sewing classes, wine tastings, horseback riding days, attending a concert, etc. There are also whole school community builder afternoons once a month…”
6. Raffles American School (Johor, Malaysia) – 37 Total Comments
“Firstly, each teacher has their classroom. We have a pantry and teachers’ lounge with a fridge, microwave oven, coffee, couch, board games, books, etc. for teachers to unwind and relax during their prep time or at the end of the day. In Secondary school, we have the Raptors award (along with a complimentary coffee voucher in Parents Lounge Cafe) given by the principal to an outstanding teacher of the week, then passed on from the winning teacher to another outstanding teacher of the week. We have a Social Club committee that will discuss, plan, and execute fun activities for teachers and staff. We also have Community Sports every Thursday run by either a Faculty member or a parent and participated by all – students, teachers, staff, and parents…”
5. NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 330 Total Comments
“In the secondary school there are “Friday Snacks” catered by the cafeteria every Friday morning during the break. (Sometimes subject departments also contribute to the “snack fest.”) Some teachers grab their snacks and run, but many take the opportunity to socialize with colleagues at the end of the week and take a quick pause in the day. At our Tuesday “nuts and bolts” meeting, there is always coffee and pastries for faculty. There are also coffee stations around the school with free coffee/sugar/milk/tea. I also think it’s a nice touch that fridges around campus are always stocked with milk so that if you do make your coffee, you don’t have to bring your own…”
4. QSI International School of Tbilisi (Tbilisi, Georgia) – 58 Total Comments
“We have two staff parties a year, often at fancy restaurants in the city. There is a social committee that supports the staff by giving new parents baby items and raising money in case there is a death in the family. New teachers are paired with old teachers as mentors. New teachers are treated to a tour of Georgia as part of new teacher orientation…”
“The school goes way and beyond to create a harmonious environment for teachers. They have happy hour every Friday afternoon, with a beer fridge in the teachers\’ lounge. This is locked for most of the week, except for Friday afternoons. The school regularly organizes social activities. Every Thanksgiving, the school organizes a retreat to some resort for a night and has a banquet, giving away high-value prizes. They throw a similar banquet for the lunar new year and give away many prizes…”
2. International School Luxembourg (Luxembourg) – 57 Total Comments
“There is wellbeing committee, a Ministry of Fun, social events around the holidays, new hire gatherings, and training for things like peer mentorship and mental health…”
1. American International School of Lagos (Lagos, Nigeria) – 52 Total Comments
“Every Friday during our WeLearn2 professional development meetings, there is coffee and cookies. Sectional meetings are occasionally used for writing report cards. The elementary principal sometimes passes out treats after a long day of work. The school hosts staff parties before the winter break and end of school, recognizing teachers who have worked at the school for several years…”
If you would like to share what your school does to create a high staff morale, log in to International School Community and submit your comments. For every 10 submitted comments, you will get one month of free premium membership added to your account!