Revitalizing Staff Morale Using the SNAIL Method-Part Three

This post is the third in a five-part series.

In my first two posts I shared the five components of the SNAIL Method of revitalizing staff morale.  For this post I will offer my thoughts on the third component.

Stand up and take pride in our profession

Never pass up the opportunity to show appreciation

Acknowledge when things aren’t working and develop a new plan

Ignite a spirit of collaboration not competition

Let go of old hurts or jealousies

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Acknowledge when things aren’t working and develop a new plan

Sometimes there’s an elephant in the room.  The elephant is that for one reason or another a program, initiative, or strategy is not working.  However, time and money has been spent so the failed program or plan is continued.  Nothing brings down morale like knowing something is not working and still having to continue on with it.  So, what do you do about it?  Complain.  Whine. Sabotage.

No, when something is not working you really have to examine the reasons why and then take action.  Is it that simply there hasn’t been enough time to determine whether it has worked or not?  Often, unlike what we preach to our students, we bail when we don’t get the promised results or what we expected the outcome to be immediately.  We have to be patient, yet critical.  Are we doing everything necessary for the program, initiative, or strategy to be successful?  “To fidelity” are often words that cause teachers in my district to cringe.  I’m not saying follow everything to the letter (I’m one of those cringers) but if you don’t, you need to own it and be ready to justify.

Sometimes though, you’ve done everything you can and it’s just either not working or it’s not best for your students.  Rather than complain, whine, or sabotage, really think about what could be done differently.  Analyze what parts aren’t working and then develop a new plan.  Work with your grade level team, building teachers in other grade levels, or even your PLN.  Find a way to tweak what you’re doing or develop a new one.  They key is to not just accept it’s not working and then do nothing about it.  Many times I’ve gone to my administrators with a problem and possible solutions.  They get tired of problems too, and are more often than not very receptive to feedback when you come in with possible solutions.  No one likes a mess dumped at their feet.  Help them out, work together on it.  Often a complete overhaul is not needed, just minor adjustments and the support in which to do it.

So next time you or a colleague is sitting there complaining that something isn’t working, just think how bad it is if the whole building is feeling that way, yet everyone would rather wait for someone else to do something about it.  We don’t have to accept a program, initiative, or strategy that isn’t working.  We must advocate for our students, speak up, and be willing to put ourselves out there.  We have more control over things than most would believe.  We just need not be silent when it’s not working.  Be respectful, but work for change when it is necessary.  Never accept less than what you, your colleagues, and students deserve.


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