School morale – the ambiance and atmosphere that permeates a building when you enter. It’s reflected in the way the students greet one another and how teachers interact with the students, teachers and parents. It’s part of how visitors feel when they enter the building and staff feel when they exit on Friday afternoon. It consists of thousands of interactions and reactions between individuals as they spend their days together. It’s elusive but tangible. You know when the morale in a building is good and when it isn’t.

It’s been my pleasure to work in a number of schools with great morale. They were places where, no matter what was happening or what was coming at the teachers, they looked to the positive, and to each other, to work towards creating a great school. It was our desire to do the best we could for our students, working and sharing our school lives, that helped us to live, love and laugh. Each of these staffs suffered through tragedies but we supported and helped one another.

At present, as an educational leader, I can see that the school where I am is not what it could be. There is a tenseness in the air – a sense of foreboding, almost like people are giving in to the pressures that surround them. It was brought to me that, ultimately, the morale of the school is my responsibility (and fault if it is negative). Now, as educational leader, I see that I have a part in creating the atmosphere in the school but am I solely responsible? If so, what are ways of looking to improve the morale of the people in the building? If not, what suggestions do you have for looking at the problem and coming up with a solution? Any feedback is very welcome.

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