You have seen it time and time again. Teachers can be negative. We’ve all been there. Sometimes that negative person is us! I noticed after my first few years of teaching that all of my excitement for the profession quickly got stifled by all of the negative energy. No budgets, no time, too many demands, the kids won’t behave, and administration doesn’t understand us!… Sound familiar? I knew I had to put a stop to this, and stay true to who I really am: A positive person who sees the best in things. These 5 simple tips can help you stay positive in the workplace, and hopefully will keep you positive long after the exciting first few weeks of school are behind you.
1. “No Complaining”
I implemented this rule for myself at school. I put a sticky note on my computer that simply states “No Complaining.” I look at it every day. Complaining is not a choice. Don’t initiate a conversation based on a complaint. Soon you will be known as the person who complains about everything. Don’t get me wrong, everyone needs to vent, but instead of venting to anyone and everyone, know the people at work you are closest to and trust. Confide in those people when you need someone to emphasize with. The rest of the time, keep it to yourself.
Smile at people in the hallway. This simple act can totally change your own attitude for the day and also will change your co-worker’s perceptions of you. Smiles are contagious. Even if I am in a bad mood, I try to smile at my co-workers or students. Fake it until you make it. Soon you will forget you were feeling negative.
3. Do a Favor
When someone asks a favor of you, and it’s reasonable, do it! (Art teachers-we’ve all been asked to make that poster, banner, or draw someone something because of course they can all only draw stick figures!!) Our time is precious, but two things will happen as a result. First, you will feel great because you did something for someone and made them happy. Second, it will surely come back to you someday in return. What we put out into the universe will come back to us exponentially. Put yourself out there, you never know what might be waiting for you in return.
4. Spruce it Up!
Some people laugh when they hear of people who “Feng Shui” their offices. I don’t. Make your desk, office, classroom a place you want to come into every day. Put a plant on your desk, photos of your loved ones, and containers to hold things that aren’t old cottage cheese containers. (Art teachers, you know what I am talking about!) Simple things like taking old jars or painting tin cans with chalkboard paint can really spruce up your desk and make it a place you look forward to sitting at every day. I even cover my binders with pretty paper just so it makes me happy when I look at it! It’s the simple things, folks.
5. Stay Organized
This is easier said than done, but when I am organized I can be creative. Being creative makes me happy. How upset do you get when you waste time because you can’t find something? Or you are frustrated because your students are walking in and you still don’t have the paper cut, and for some, still don’t know what lesson you are teaching? This is a recipe for disaster, folks. If you want to stay positive, the other things around you must be in place for you to truly have no barriers to be your “best self.”
Who we are as people directly translates to who we are as teachers. What type of person do you want to be? Do you know what your mission of teaching is? What fuels the fire to your positivity? Do you know why you fall into negative traps and how to get out of them? These 5 tips can help you get a great start to the new school year and beyond.
What are other ways you stay positive at work? Please share!