Turn on the news and education negativity floods the airwaves. Teachers fail here, fail there, aren't doing enough, are doing too much--it seems as though educators can never win. Instead of focusing on outside opinions, I try to pay attention to what I can control--my classroom, my attitude, and my teaching. These are variables in my domain and they can set the stage for the mood in my classroom and for how my students learn.
Negative teachers, and there are plenty, spend energy on complaining, energy they could be using for improving. We will never have ideal students. We will never have ideal administrators. We will always be lacking somehow in the eyes of the public. Accept that and move on.
It takes effort to be either positive or negative. I figure if I have to exert the energy any way, why not have it take a constructive twist? Only benefits come from being optimistic. Can all students learn? Yes, they can. When you believe it, so will they. Can all students achieve success in the classroom? Yes, they can. When you recognize their success, students will aim even higher. I'm not sure I know of any student who wants to and intentionally does poorly in school. Remember, they want to experience success.
My attitude definitely impacts my students. I set the tone in my class every day. I determine the mood. Negative situations arise in everyone's life, but how we deal with those encounters says a lot about who we are and the priorities in life. I don't want a "can't-do" attitude to be prevalent in any of my students, so I need to be careful not to foster that in my classroom through what I say or do.
Don't let the news of the day, the drama of the hour, or the students who may be having a tough day dictate your attitude. Rise above it, be encouraging, and avoid letting negativity spread into your teaching. We face enough less than positive people and events and so do kids. Let's focus on seeing the good in kids and our day, rather than the bad. It amazes me how little adjustments in my outlook can turn around what may have begun as a sub-par day and help it end on a positive note.
Negative times are inescapable. However, how we deal with these episodic events can turn a sour day into a bright one. What is your outlook in the classroom? How do you set the stage for success not failure by your attitude? What we say and how we act in creating a positive learning environment--it can make all the difference.