Nothing speaks hope as much as January in North Dakota. No, it's not "I-hope-I-don't-freeze-to-death" hope. It's hope for spring. For brighter days. If you can make it through January, you can make it. But a lot of enduring the temps comes down to attitude (and a car with heated seats and an auto start feature). I can make it through those below zero days with the wind slicing through me when my attitude is positive. The same can be said for teaching. What kind of attitude am I bringing into the classroom?
I recently returned to school after missing four weeks due to surgery. Honestly, I was ready emotionally to head back to class after week one. Unfortunately, my body needed more time to heal. But when I finally made it to the classroom and through my first day...well, I felt great. I was energized by my students and just by being there. My husband was afraid I would over do it, sending me missives during the day asking how I was and if I was going home. My attitude was positive. I wanted to stay. I could have taken off after the school day ended, but I felt good.
How many times, though, in the past have I gone to school with a less than stellar outlook, wanting only to go back home? Nothing was good enough or right, no one understood the stress I was under, no one could reach my students. I was Negative Nelly and everything around me reflected that.
It takes the same effort to be positive as it does to be negative. But, now, given the choice, I'd rather err on the side of seeing the best in people and believing in them. Teaching can grow cynical people. I was going down that road, but "recalculated" my route to change direction.
How do we "recalculate" our attitude? By watching who you hang out with . Instead of listening to negative people, I started surrounding myself with "can-do" colleagues, people who looked at failure as a learning experience, who looked at kids as achievers, and people who had a glass half-full mentality.
Negativity wears everyone down. I don't want that kind of drain on me. It doesn't take too long before I succumb to the pressure and find Negative Nelly talk coming from me. So watch who you hang around. Think positive thoughts about yourself and your students. Give them the benefit of the doubt. It could make all the difference.