As I’ve blogged about before, I really admire my principal, Paul Clemens, and his ability to always stay positive. Our new vice principal, Kristi Keery-Bishop, is another very positive role model in the school, and I’ve decided that I really want to work on always having a positive attitude.
I go to school every morning with a smile on my face. I love my job! Truthfully, I’m happiest in the classroom. My students are fantastic, and I always continue to be amazed at what they share, how they interact with each other, and how much they’ve learned. When these “a-ha moments” happen in class, I break out into a big grin, and I remember again about how much I love to teach.
I don’t just feel this way with my own group of Grade 5’s and 6’s. As a Junior teacher at the school, I’m fortunate to provide six periods of prep coverage a week: from JK-Grade 4. I teach Health and Media Literacy, and I love doing both. I’ve really worked hard at using inquiry with all of the students, and it’s amazing to see the students excited to learn and eager to ask questions. Every day I have fun, every day I learn something new, and every day I have a lot to smile about!
But teaching, just like other professions I’m sure, has a lot that happens behind the scenes. It’s the politics of teaching that can sometimes make me feel less than positive. I don’t like feeling this way. So for the next nine months of this school year, and for hopefully numerous months past that, I’m determined to stay smiling. Here’s my plan:
- I’m going to take a few minutes at the end of every day (and maybe some time over the nutrition breaks) to look over my daily tweets of student learning. Seeing what students are doing and sharing makes me happy, and this is a good reminder about why I should keep smiling.
- I’m going to take regular opportunities to peruse the nice notes, emails, and blog post comments that I’ve received from parents, teachers, and administrators over the years. Reading happy things makes me happier too!
- I’m going to surround myself (whenever possible) with positive people. This may mean making choices about where to eat and when to leave group discussions.
- I’m going to enjoy every minute that I have in the classroom every day with every one of my students. I’m going to have fun, learn lots, and remember that I teach because of every one of the students in that room.
- I’m going to continue to have fun during bus duty. We have lots of buses at our school, and each has a different animal name. As the Primary Bus Duty Teacher, I get to dismiss the students from the gym. I love having the “bear bus” growl at me each day and the “parrot bus” fly their way home. Letting the “little monkeys” onto the Monkey Bus first, also makes me chuckle. 🙂 It’s good when duty time can be fun time!
- I’m going to continue sharing ideas both online and in-person (at the school level) to help people see that there’s more to what I do that just “teach technology.” I’m going to remember that change takes time but it can happen.
- I’m going to remind myself that I’m a good teacher that cares about students and wants to see student success. This doesn’t make me perfect, and I’ll continue to learn new ways to help support students. With this reminder though, I’m not going to let comments from others make me feel like less of a teacher.
I don’t know if this is the perfect plan, but it’s my plan for now, and I’m dedicated to making this work. How do you stay positive? How are you going to “keep smiling” throughout this school year? I’d love to hear your ideas!
I stay positive because every day is full of new opportunities. I am alive, healthy, and I realize that everyone I meet has his or her own “story.” Everyone I meet could be going through something in his or her life that is troubling or terrible, or torturous. Since my life is full and I feel I can deal with my own issues in a positive way, I need to spread my own positivity so it becomes infectious.
I try to do something for someone else each day, and that makes me feel good, which in turn helps my own attitude. Some small things are saying hello to someone down the hall or on another floor that I usually don’t see, commenting on a blog post of a student I don’t know, or doing a tiny favor for someone without them knowing it. Good deeds make me feel good, and hopefully make others feel good as well!
And, yes, all those things above are GREAT ideas! My favorite is surrounding myself with positive people. I don’t have the time nor the energy to complain about things I cannot change, or participate in rumors about people who I’d bet have their own struggles. So, Aviva – I am glad to participate in answering your question you posted! Continue to stay positive, and know that “optimism overcomes obstacles!” 😀
Joy, thank you so much for commenting! I love your positive energy even in your comment. I particularly like the idea of “doing something positive for someone else each day.” I know that every morning I stand in the hallway and say, “hello,” to the hundreds of students that come upstairs. It’s nice to even strike up a conversation with some of my previous students. You’ve given me new ways now to do a little something positive for others too! Commenting on some different student blog posts is a great idea! Let’s spread the happy thoughts! 🙂
An important post and an important question. I think I stay positive by starting from the place that my classroom is a place of joy and it is my attitude and the way I interact with my students that keeps me in that place.
I recently shared my learning over the past 20 years in this post:
I make a point about choosing celebration over cynicism and I think that is the hugest thing. I see that in you with all of your tweets about the learning in your classroom. I think we have to reflect on each day and find the things to celebrate and hold fast to them. They are all around us.
Also wondering if you have ever seen this video? Lots of inspiration here: http://useyouroutsidevoice.blogspot.ca/2013/04/what-started-this-whole-journey.html I was excited to be a part of it.
Thank you so much for your comment and all of your wonderful links too! I just glanced over them, but I’m excited to explore them in more detail. I love your idea of “choosing celebration over cynicism.” Maybe this positive attitude really is something that we have to find within ourselves and create within our classrooms.
I love your ideas. Ending the day feeling positive about what we do energizes us for the tomorrows. I too start each day with a smile on my face. Teaching kindergarten can be so challenging at the same time so rewarding. My Kinders greet me with hugs and adoration in their eyes. The heavy duty challenging ones, can be draining, but I always remind myself that I am their advocate doing the best I can. I have built up a wonderful network of colleagues at my school. We are sounding boards for each other. I need some place to vent and laugh with peers. Making fun of myself and relaxing. That puts a smile on my face.
Thanks for the comment, Faige! That support network is so important. I am happy to have that group both online and in person. I also must admit that even though I teach junior now, if I need a smile on my face, I always try to head down to the primary division. As a prep coverage teacher, I know many of the primary kids, and talking to them always makes me happy. It’s a good reminder that we really are “there for the kids.”
I admire your plan and your goal to stay positive. I too try to maintain a positive outlook, to look for the silver-lining & walk away from the negativity. However, I think it is normal to be angry when you witness inequity, to be sad when times are tough, and to admit and ask for help when things are difficult. Teaching isn’t easy, but it is worth the roller coaster of emotions that it brings. My goal is to be positive as much as possible but part of what makes me human & a teacher that kids can relate to and trust, is my ability to share a variety of emotions and feelings. Don’t let the negative nellies get you down, but don’t let them take away the ‘realness’ that comes through online & that your students must surely admire and respect.
Thanks for the comment, Debbie! I think that you make some great points here! Honestly, usually if I’m not positive (& happy) it’s because of a problem that I see or something more that I want to do for students. I really care about every one of my students, and often this caring is what makes me emotional. Maybe this isn’t a bad thing. I’m still going to see though if I can spend the year smiling while still doing what I want to do (& what I think should be done) for kids.
Keeping positive is a challenge I fight every day! Getting into classrooms away from the politics and issues that have an indirect impact in the classroom and school culture is how I stay positive. I see the amazing things teachers and students are doing and it forces me to say “that’s amazing!” every day. I think you have a great list of ideas to keep you on the positivity path.
Thanks David! It’s definitely when I’m in the classroom with the students that I feel the most positive. I think that having a plan will help me as I strive for smiles all year long!
I love your positive focus (and thanks for the props – ha ha)! It is great to see how your post has triggered the thinking of others. Our challenge is to make this (positive thinking) contagious in our school. We are so lucky to work in a profession that has the power to change lives … sometimes it is easy to forget this and we get lost in the politics, paper work, and negativity of others. I think you are right that we need to take a moment every day to celebrate and remind ourselves (and others) of how fortunate we are.
Thanks for the comment, Paul! I actually think that it’s this moment of reflection that will be key for me. It’s as I look back at the “good” that happened that day that I think less about the politics and more about the wonderful students. That’s what really matters!
Thank you for continually pushing my thinking! I’m very fortunate to get to work with and learn from you!