Thursday, March 24, 2016

Who's Got Spring Fever?

It's that time of year again...allergies! Ugh. Students and teachers alike are sneezing, sniffling, and rubbing their eyes until they are red. There is not enough tissue for this season.

But it's also the time of year that students and teachers alike are most likely to be waning in their enthusiasm. Out here in Arizona, the weather has been divine the last few weeks and there is a common desire for all of us to enjoy the great outdoors, before being outdoors becomes the worst idea...ever. We have officially entered the season of Spring Fever. 

I recently had a discussion with a principal about ways to keep the motivation of the teachers on campus in high gear. Our state testing begins very shortly. Teachers have given their all, all year long. Much like the crowds cheering along mile 22 or 23 in a marathon race, this principal wants to encourage her staff for the last big push in the final eight weeks of school. 

So how do you do that? How do you encourage and motivate another to keep doing great work, when Spring Fever is high and there are much other tempting things to begging for attention? 

According to Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages, everyone has a preferred way of receiving love and affection. And we typically demonstrate love and affection in the same manner that we like to receive it. The disconnect sometimes comes when two individuals have differing modes of affection. (BTW - this is how I've come to understand the principles in the book. If you want to know more, I highly recommend reading it for yourself.)

While we're not talking about love and affection in the work place (Ew!), the same ideas can be applied when it comes to demonstrating appreciation, which teachers need to be shown more than one week in May.

The five languages that Dr. Chapman identifies are:

  • Acts of Service
  • Quality Time
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Gifts
  • Physical Touch (Please be work-place appropriate - handshakes, high-fives)  
As an administrator or teacher leader on your campus, do you know your staff members well enough to be able to identify their top two languages? You may be well meaning in writing personal notes to each of your teachers, but if words of affirmation aren't their thing, the exercise might not have the intended effect. 

So as the school winds down and you're contemplating how to keep the staff morale high, I encourage you to have multiple modes for fighting off Spring Fever and showing your teachers how much you appreciate their dedication. 

Offering my BEST to you!

P.S. Dr. Chapman DOES have a book that relates to the workplace: The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. This is going on my Amazon list of books to read, will it be on yours too?

What are some creative ways that you have either given or received appreciation in the workplace?

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