Normalizing Joy

by Dr. Timothy (Tim) Grivois, Executive Director

I recently sat down with Ms. Jamie Bradley, Principal of Dobson Academy in Chandler, Arizona, to talk about three beautiful strategies to strengthen positive relationships among staff. The video is below, and here they are in a blog.

Sticky Notes

Everyone at Dobson Academy has a pack of sticky notes that they can use to write positive messages to each other. Notes show up all the time on teachers’ doors and mailboxes. A small investment in time gives everyone a fun surprise when they come to their door and see a kind word from a colleague.

Walk-up Wednesday

While Jamie watched her son play baseball, she noticed how each player had a ‘walk-up’ song that played when they came up to bat. So Jamie transformed the idea of a walk-up song into a fun weekly game that engages staff personally. Before her Wednesday email, Jamie asks a staff member to choose their ‘walk-up’ song. Then, Jamie finds a clip of the song, emails it to the staff, and asks everyone to reply-all and guess whose song it is. 

Fan Club Friday

Every week, Jamie chooses a staff member for Fan Club Friday. On Friday, she sends an all-staff email sharing something she loves about them. Then, everyone clicks reply-all to share what they love about that person. All day, everyone receives a positive email about a colleague full of beautiful new connections that they may never have made. And staff members get to see their full impact on their work community. 

These strategies are free except for the cost of a pack of sticky notes. Even better, making them a routine normalizes joy and coaches the team to look for the best in each other. Teaching is hard work, and taking time to celebrate each other is an important way for the entire teaching community to model and practice self-care.

If you like or plan to try one of these strategies, leave a comment!

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