School Culture


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about school culture.  As I reflect over the last several years, I remember times when I tried to escape complainers, times when I became a complainer, and times when I tried to stop complaining.  My focus, mostly, has been on myself — how other teachers’ attitudes are affecting ME.  And sometimes I think about how I affect those I work with most closely, or those I eat lunch with.

But I’ve been thinking more lately about the school as a whole.

In the past, I admit I figured it was the principal’s job to impact or change school culture.  And I do still think the administration plays a large role in the attitude and morale of a school.  For example, when I see administrators in the hallways, saying hi to teachers and students, popping into classrooms just to visit — not to do an evaluation or pull out a kid for a discipline issue — that’s when I feel like they really care about the nuts and bolts of the school.  When one of the administrators takes time to eat lunch with teachers, or to pop into a classroom after school just to see how a teacher is doing, it shows a willingness to connect and not just to be in charge.

But principals and other administrators have a big job.  I know that sometimes they get busy.  So I started thinking about what I can do personally to impact and improve school culture.

I spend way too much time on Pinterest, but it’s there that I’ve found some ideas that might work, and that wouldn’t take too much time or energy.  Staff Shout-Out boards in the faculty lounge, an easy opportunity to write a note of encouragement and stick it in another teacher’s mailbox — these things aren’t hard, and I could set them up myself.

Sure, maybe it’s not “my job” to do that sort of thing, but I’d much rather work in a place where people are happy than in a place where Grumble Pie is on the menu every day.

And maybe, if I take the first step, others will join in and start going above and beyond to help improve the school culture as well.  That’s my hope.  I want a happy school, and maybe I can help make it happen.


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