Do you ever feel like you are drowning in a sea of negativity? Does it seem like every time you turn around policy makers are proposing budget cuts, salary/benefit cuts, or adding to never ending list of hoops classroom teachers have to jump through? Do you hear colleagues complaining that they aren't going to do anything but the bare minimum for their students because it's just not worth the hassle? Do you have parent conferences where your hard work, professionalism, or abilities are called into question? Do you ever feel a lack of support from your administrators?
If you've answered "yes" to any of the previous questions (and I know you have), there is hope. With these three simple steps, you too can be paddling with the power of positivity.
- Create your own Warm Fuzzy Folder to keep handy in case of a negativity attack. Inside it keep notes, cards, student drawings, and emails that students, their parents, or your colleagues give you singing your praises. You can even collect reflections that you've written down when you've had a success with a student or even professionally. By reading these, you'll be reminded that you really do make a difference in the people whose lives you touch every day.
- Surround yourself with other like-minded, powerfully, positive educators. By seeking out these paragons of positivity, you too will begin to focus on what's right with education instead of what's wrong. Even if where you teach you struggle to find those upbeat educators, with the tools of today, it's easier than ever to connect with educators worldwide through Twitter, blogs, Second Life, and Skype giving all of you a venue to find solutions to common problems and celebrate your successes.
- Focus on why you became an educator. As new educators we were extremely upbeat and on a mission to change the world. We were not motivated by money, prestige or social standing. We knew why we became teachers. Look around, they are right there, looking to you for guidance even if they won't verbally admit to it some days. Those students, regardless of race, gender, socio-economic background, religion, or personal history are looking to you to be a beacon of light in their day, every single day. What a positively prestigious opportunity!
Disclaimer: No "p's" were harmed in the making of this blog. The events and comments mentioned in this blog are generalizations and not intended to be specific indictments of actual events or individuals, real or fictitious.