Monday, 6 November 2017
Last week students all across the district celebrated Halloween. The day may be eagerly anticipated by most children, but it can be fraught with anxieties for staff. Aside from the elevated energy levels costumed students bring to school, the event poses other challenges as well, like how to ensure costumes are appropriate, or how to ensure those who don't observe the customs of the day can still be comfortable? One significant question can be to what degree should staff join in?
At the central office staff don't necessarily get to interact with students but the question about whether or not to dress up still applies. While a festive atmosphere can help explain a costume at schools, at the Board Office a costume can raise eyebrows. I'm a strong proponent of bringing fun to work. Our office staff work hard but they also a fun group. This year staff embraced the opportunity to show some character, and a Halloween themed potluck lunch ensured everyone had a chance to get in to the spirit of things.
At the school level many of our principals used the day to model positive role models while joining in the fun. Our secondary school admin team agreed to "boldly go" where few had gone before, channeling their inner Star Trek characters, while at one of our elementary schools the office staff illustrated just how super they really are, donning their capes and familiar blue and red outfits.
Research clearly demonstrates the benefits of bringing a sense of fun to work. Students and staff alike get to see each other in a slightly different way. People who can enjoy a sense of fun together work together with greater confidence, are kinder and gentler on each other and achieve greater success on a variety of tasks.
In his article Joy in School Steven Walk supports these ideas writing" "Schools need to find ways for students, teachers, and administrators to take a break from the sometimes emotional, tense, and serious school day and have some fun together." Walk further states that such events "help everyone get to know one another better, tear down the personal walls that often get built inside schools, form more caring relationships, and simply have a wonderful time together." Creating positive shared experiences helps everyone get the most out of education matters.