How to become a
"Teacher Morale Doctor"
Successful schools require one resource above all others: great teachers. But increasing demands, challenging working conditions, low pay, and lack of public appreciation have led to historically low levels of teacher morale in districts nationwide. The result? More teachers leaving mid-year, and those who remain feel unable to do their best work. EAB research found that current approaches to raising employee morale can be described with three archetypes, but only one consistently delivers results. Which best describes your district today?
Three ways districts are working
to raise teacher morale
Why 'The Doctor' is your best strategy forward
What makes the doctor successful? Rather than trying to minimize the symptoms of low teacher morale through self-care and appreciation, they dive beneath the surface to find the underlying problems. Rather than building a checklist of problems, the doctor determines which can and should be solved first. Most importantly, rather than assuming that their remedies will work, they partner with those affected to prevent unintended consequences. Want to earn your “teacher morale doctor” license? Start with the guidelines below.
Diagnose causes of low morale
- Take diagnostic pulse surveys quarterly
- Communicate results district-wide
- Utilize targeted “stay interviews” and listening tours
- Perform single, annual engagement surveys
- Allow communication to vary by school
- Ask open-ended questions in large-group settings
- Use a consistent decision process to identify 1-2 critical threats each quarter
- Communicate priorities and the process
- Acknowledge additional needs
- Try to solve too many threats at once
- Share initiatives without rationale
- Sugarcoat the situation
- Engage employees in the design of morale-boosting solutions
- Make it easy for employees to participate in solution design
- Formally recognize employee participation
- Assume that the leadership team can design solutions
- Copy solutions from other districts without consulting employees
- Take employee task force participation for granted
More about K-12
Take the next step
To join peer districts on the journey to becoming a morale doctor, learn more about our Collaborative for Teacher Morale.