I’m passionate about reinstating the status of teachers and boosting morale in schools. A great place to start is in-house! I’m encouraged school leaders to write a hand written postcard to personally recognise each of their staff on World Teachers’ Day (October 31 in Australia).
Following a great response in the last two years, I’m again encouraging school leaders to send a personal, handwritten note through the post (yes snail mail) to each of your teachers, at their home. The prevalence of email has led to us rarely receiving anything but bills through the post. Receiving a hand written message, at home, shows that the leaders have gone to an effort to appreciate their staff. It would be great to encourage parents to write a note of appreciation to their child’s teachers.
This Happy School program started in 2012 with 9550 teachers across Australia receiving handwritten postcards from their Principal. The response grew to 11700 last year. It would be fantastic if 15000 teachers across Australia received a handwritten card from their Principal this year.
Postcards are available free of charge to Happy School members and at a $1 per card for other schools. If your school isn’t a Happy School member, there hasn’t been a better time. Not only will you get a great weekly article to share with your staff to boost staff morale and reduce teacher stress, you’ll also get the postcards for FREE. A 12 month subscription is $295.00
Danger Of Low Teacher Status
Sadly the status of teaching today isn’t what it used to be and this will have serious consequences for Australia’s future. No education system can be better than its teachers. Recruiting the brightest and best into teaching is critical to future education outcomes, yet the status of teaching is in serious decline. To recruit the brightest and best, teaching needs to be a high status occupation.
Many teachers across Australia report high levels of stress and a lack of support from parents. The reduction in status of the teaching profession makes recruiting the brightest challenging.
This fall in status is not unique to Australia according to the 2013 Teacher Status Index developed by the Varkey GEMS Foundation. “In many countries teachers no longer retain the elevated status that they used to enjoy. Consequently, its effects are profoundly damaging to the life chances of the next generation. If teachers aren’t respected in society, children won’t listen to them in class, parents won’t reinforce the messages that are coming from school and the most talented graduates will continue to disregard teaching as a profession. Over time, this declining respect for teachers will weaken teaching, weaken learning, damage the learning opportunities for millions and ultimately weaken societies around the world.”
21 countries were surveyed by the Foundation. Sadly Australia was not included. The general public was surveyed on how they rank the occupational prestige of teachers against that of other professions, on their perception of how students respect teachers and on the recognition and reward systems that are and that should be used.
The report found there are major differences across countries in the way teachers are perceived by the public. This informs who decides to become a teacher in each country, how they are respected and how they are financially rewarded.
In order to determine the social standing of the teaching profession, they asked respondents to rank 14 occupations in order of how they are respected. The occupations chosen were:
- Primary school teacher
- Secondary school teacher
- Head teacher
- Local government manager
- Social worker
- Website designer
- Management consultant
In most countries teachers were rated around 7th. Where would the status of Australian teachers be ranked?
NAPLAN – The Most Important Question To Ask…?
In recent weeks schools have been analyzing their 2014 NAPLAN results. Whilst many are pleased, others are left wondering. The MOST important question to ask in this situation isn’t “What went wrong or who is to blame?”
The MOST important question to ask is “What can we learn from this?”
What We’ve Already Accomplished
Educator and futurist Tony Ryan is one of my favourite people. In his recent blog (www.tonyryan.com.au) he highlighted that the world is indeed a remarkable place and that humanity has made stunning progress in recent years, despite what the sensationalist news services would have us believe. Here is just a part of what Tony said…
“Here are some examples of what we have accomplished in recent times.
In 1900, global life expectancy was 32. Now, it is just over 70. In just 114 years, it has gone from 32 to 70!
The infant mortality rate (as measured by the number of babies who died before the age of 1) was approximately 25% in 1900. Now, it is 3.69%.
The literacy rate was 42% in 1900. It is now 84%.
Most crime rates have dropped in the past 20 years (and given that, can I let you know that you’re a 60 times less chance of being murdered today than in the Middle Ages); we have a 30% improvement in cancer survival rates in just the past 20 years.
Statistics such as these will continue to surge ahead, and especially because the world is about to unleash the ingenuity of billions more people in 2nd and 3rd world countries who previously did not have many opportunities to improve themselves. This may very well become the greatest social justice advancement in human history.”
Whilst working in schools can be difficult and challenging, it can also be very rewarding. Staff in schools have an opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives every day! How noble is that?
If you ask parents what is the most important thing in their world 99% of them would say, their children! To them their children are more special than their house, their car, the money in their bank account. And yet they bring the thing in the world that is most precious to them, as a four year old and hand them over to us! Not only to look after and take care of but to educate and prepare for their future!
Wow did you feel the weight of that responsibility?
This Month’s Happy School articles include:
- Would you rather be right or happy?
- Good intentions aren’t enough!
- 20 Tips for creating a safe learning environment
- Staff Engagement The ultimate framework for learning and life
Subscribe now and join the 560 schools who are already boosting staff morale and reducing teacher stress as members of Happy School. Reply to this email and ask us to set up your membership. It costs less than ONE supply teacher day!
Conferences and Work With Schools
This month I’m looking forward to working with:-
- Darebin Network Conference
- Education Queensland Aspiring Leaders
- Balmoral SHS Leaders
- Cronulla School Leaders
- Ingham SHS
- North Queensland Deputy Principals
- Northern Beaches SHS Leaders
- SBMAQ webinars
- QASSP webinars
I’d be happy to talk with you about the professional development needs of your leadership team or whole staff.
How Is Your Staff Morale?
The fastest way to improve your school and boost staff satisfaction is to identify and address the problems that annoy and frustrate people. SurveyMySchool has been specifically designed to support the leadership team to IMPROVE schools. The interactive format of the surveys identifies specific issues and potential solutions.
SurveyMySchool is far more useful than school opinion surveys that only provides data. Whilst having data is a good start, data alone can be misinterpreted and isn’t helpful in addressing people’s specific concerns.
SurveyMySchool is interactive. Respondents who express dissatisfaction with an aspect of the school are asked clarifying questions to provide further detail about their specific concern and potential solutions. The survey report provides useful information to inform school planning, improve the school and increase the satisfaction of staff.
Contact us to set up a survey of staff, parents and/or students.
If you’d like me to present at your conference or work with your staff, email me firstname.lastname@example.org