I’m trying to embrace something new this year: positivity. I think that I’m generally a glass-half-full kind of person. As a matter of fact, I know I am. I’m the annoying person who’s always telling others to “look on the bright side! It can’t be that bad! Keep your chin up!” and so on.
But I also know that when I’m around negative people, I get negative. Very, very easily. All it takes it one sentence for me to completely switch my view on something – especially if the negativity is coming from someone I respect or look up to. This happens every school year.
All too often, we let our personal lives interfere with our work lives. The fact is, it doesn’t matter what’s going on in my life – the twenty-one students sitting in my classroom need all of me, every day. I have to be fully present for them, and I have to be positive, because these kids experience enough negativity in their lives as it is.
I do feel like I’m doing a good job of spreading happiness, at least in my little end of the building. One of my students told me a few days ago that, “You’re always happy!” My coworkers haven’t been, lately. Some of them have some pretty devastating things going on in their personal lives, and I can see a direct correlation between those things and their attitudes at work. It’s like a switch has been turned on, and suddenly every request, every change in the way things are done, is just too much. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been told that “you should seriously think about switching careers; it’s just going to get worse.” In just a month and a half!
But when I hear things like that, I remind myself that I don’t feel that way. The people who feel that way are maybe the ones who shouldn’t be in the classroom. Because ultimately, teachers have to be willing to fight for our students. Yes, we’ll have to jump through hoops and put up with mandates that we don’t agree with and implement new initiatives that we know, in our hearts, aren’t in the kids’ best interests. But if we don’t, where does that leave our students? They need us. They need teachers who will fight for them. And I’m going to be one of them.