I’ll never forget taking a trip to New York City and trying to navigate the Metro rail system. Talk about stressful. It’s busy, it’s packed, and boy do those trains go fast! What made it worse was that I got on the wrong train and I didn’t realize it until the doors had shut and the train sped off. I went in the completely opposite direction of where I needed to go and the thing about trains is that once you’re on it, you aren’t going to be able to get off until it reaches its destination. This is great if you’re going in the right direction, but absolutely frustrating if you’re headed in the wrong direction. Negativity in our schools is a lot like getting on the wrong Metro train. It can come by quickly in the hallways and likes to make frequent stops in the faculty lounge. Yet every time you jump on board you’re going to be headed in the wrong direction. Here are three things that you can do to stay off the negative train and make sure you’re on the train that’s heading in the right direction:
- Find Your Tribe: You become like the people you surround yourself with! Negativity only brings people down, so be sure to surround yourself with people who will lift you up. Look for them in your schools, but if you find yourself surrounded by a lot of negative people, then find your teacher tribe in other places. You can always connect with other teachers in your area or via online communities. The teaching profession is so much stronger when we leave negativity behind and work together for the good of our students.
- Choose to See the Positives: I remember being in a meeting with my Reading Specialist as she went over the data for the new first graders I would be getting. All of my students but one or two were coming into first grade “below level” (like they didn’t know their letters, and many couldn’t read or write their names). It would have been easy to complain and jump onto the negative train, but I chose the half-glass full response and said: “Well, we have lots of room for growth then!” We could only go up, right? Our attitudes affect our actions. Let’s be teachers who choose to look for and to see the positives. They are there—I promise!
- Be Respectful: If you have a problem, go to that person and work it out. Don’t dish it out in the faculty lounge in front of everyone. And if you do need to vent, choose one trusted person who knows you well and can help you productively process everything. Treat others the way that you want to be treated, and you’ll be sure to stay on the right track!
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About the author: Becca Foxwell is an energetic first grade teacher whose heart comes alive in the classroom! She is a TPT Teacher-Author, speaker and presenter, and 2016 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Foxwell is passionate about instilling a love of learning within the hearts of her students and believes that learning should be fun and engaging as we prepare our students for 21st century success! You can learn more about Mrs. Foxwell at: https://www.foxwellforest.com/