Sunday, August 31, 2014

Staying Positive in Trying Times

Teachers: Staying Positive in Trying Times

This article, by Heather Wolpert Gawson, was published on Edutopia last year. It's one of the reasons I follow Edutopia even though I cannot possibly read everything they publish!  It's a sad, sad story about a teacher, a mentor, an innovator whose positivity faded away. We all know people who have suffered this fate.  If we've taught more than 2 days, we all know some of the feelings of anger and frustration described.  

Gawson wrote, her " heart was in the job, but that heart [had been] broken after years of professional disappointment....her talents were never tapped or appreciated..."   I've thought about those lines many times in the past year.  Certainly, I know about the feeling of being "unappreciated."  Certainly, I have watched teachers backed into corners and pummeled into submission.  Certainly, I have witnessed the impact of negativity.  

Truth be told, I found myself headed down the old negative path one day last week when my computer failed (again), there were no working printers in the lab, my desk was piled high with papers, and my room was still a mess! Fortunately, I  stopped and reflected on the day, the path and the road out of my "hole."

Gawsona had a few suggestions about how to avoid that giant, horrible pitfall that has eaten so many of our colleagues.  They are good ones. I'm going to hold tight to each one. Each one could be a tee shirt logo! Grab one or two.  You might need them this year!  

1. Pinpoint what you love about education and live in it.  Enjoy your students.  
2. Find others who can offer solutions, not just an ear.  
3. Pick and choose the news you read  Stop reading about the tests if it makes you crazy! .
4. Know your limits. Say "no" sometimes!  
5. Never close your door to collaboration. 
6. Be supportive of one another. 
7. Pick your battles. 
8. Don't get sucked in. 

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