Monday, January 30, 2017

February Motivation: "My Awesome Colleagues!"

It is something of a paradox that the shortest month of the year can seem like the longest.  February can be a hard month -- for students and teachers.  So we're going to try an idea at my school in an attempt to inject a little bit of positive energy into each day of the month.

This morning I sent the following email out to my staff:


We don't do our job for pats on the back... but they are so nice when they come.  You all have awesome colleagues who deserve to be recognized.  So here's our little project:

Today I will be giving you the names of 4-5 staff members.  By Friday I would like for you to email me something that you admire about each one of them.  The goal is to make these compliments as sincere and authentic as possible.  I have tried to give you names that are "logical." I realize you know some colleagues better than others.  If you have questions or need help, please talk to me ... or do a little research on your own.

All of this will be anonymous.  Please do not reveal your names to anyone, and when your colleagues receive their encouraging words, they will not know who they are from.  Do your best to structure your compliment in a way that preserves the anonymity.

Please email me your compliments by Friday.  In the subject line of your email, write: "my awesome colleagues."



The math: We have 39 staff members, and I'll be receiving about 119 complements (3 per staff member). There are 19 school days in February.  (My support staff will be receiving complements, but I did not ask them to write any.)  It is my plan to send out an email every morning with 5-6 complements for various staff members.  The subject line will simply say: "My awesome colleagues?"  The emails will go to the entire staff, so every morning, teachers can read some kind words about their colleagues. And every staff member will know that three days during the month of February an email will appear in their inbox that contains the kind words that one of their colleagues wrote about them. Encouraging words can go a long way.  It is my goal that our staff will not just survive the month of February... but we will thrive!

I know that you too, work with some great colleagues.  Never miss an opportunity to tell your co-workers how awesome they are.  Encouraging words go a long way.


  1. What a great way to lift each other up. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Hi,

    I did this activity with my staff. I made it my own and assigned each staff member 4 people to say something nice about in 2 to 4 sentences. I then gathered everything and copied it all into a googleSheet. Finally, I sent them out each week in my staff newsletter.

    The response has been amazing. I actually had a bit of push-back from staff with comments like:
    - We don't have time for this
    - I don't know some of the people I got very well
    - I don't like who I got (yikes!)
    - Etc.
    After the first week of comments were sent to staff, I got very different comments such as:
    - I had to talk to others about colleagues and got to know them a bit more.
    - I was having a bad weekend and then I read my comment. It made my day so much brighter.
    - I sent my comment to my mom.
    - So nice to know someone noticed something I did.

    Staff are looking forward to them each week this month and it has turned into such a positive experience for all. Thank you so much for the great activity.

    Raul Gaston, Principal
    Jefferson Middle School