December 17, 2016
Lights. Camera. Action!
In this season, holiday performances are sounding off in schools all across the country. The research is done. The play—scripted. The costumes—fitted. For months, performers have been working extremely hard preparing for their one shining moment. Finally—as if in slow-motion—the curtain opens, unveiling the culmination of an entire cast’s very best. What a wonderful experience!
All The World’s A Stage
Every day, learning happens in schools all over the world. The research is ongoing. The play—partially scripted. The appearance—professional. For years, educators have been working extremely hard preparing to inspire student learning experiences. Finally—as if all at once—the doors open, unveiling the culmination of an entire community’s very best. What a wonderful experience!
No Small Roles
Slow down! Before that curtain opens—Before entering your campus-stage and partaking in the privilege of influencing impressionable learners—Check yourself. In this day full of shining moment potential—Are you prepared to fulfill such a high calling? Are you in a proper state-of-mind and mental place to launch verbal and nonverbal communication that will infect your colleagues AND students?
Too often, educators bring their negative baggage with them into their workplaces—including schools. Even worse, they leave their cases open and start playing the blues with their powerful mouth instruments, expecting close listeners and passers-by to voluntarily toss money, time, and attention their way. Like vultures circling a rotting carcass or flies pinging a seemingly sweet sugar opportunity lost, the negativity snowball gains momentum, accumulating everything in its path—including those caught completely unawares. And so it continues, day after day, meandering as long as its landscape, climate, and culture allow.
Negativity is powerful and contagious. It’s so easy to be negative, making excuses and joining the Complain Train locomotion. Being positive requires intentionality, effort, and accountability. And—whether you think so or not—educator negativity ultimately affects the students. What a shame. It’s sad, unnecessary, and unfair. It’s heart-breaking and completely avoidable. It’s a choice. And for some, it requires self-discipline to choose.
No Small Actors
In the eyes of students, educators are superheroes in a way. Educators directly influence students. THAT is a super-power to be respected and revered. But aren’t educators human, too? After all, aren’t we in the business of building relationships with students and colleagues? If teachers can vent to each other in the hallway once in awhile, won’t they feel refreshed and, therefore, be better-prepared to address students in their next learning experience just minutes away? Don’t you feel better once you can get something off your chest? Can’t some personal life experiences be shared and converted into learning opportunities for all? Aren’t educators supposed to model lifelong learning as a process themselves?
I have long-endorsed educators frequently getting together outside of the workplace to build relationships. Usually, those experiences directly correlate and contribute to positive relations inside the workplace. Go out for grade level dinners. Have a committee meeting at a sports pub. Celebrate birthdays and holidays together—even if just for a couple of hours. When you learn about a colleague’s personal life and current challenges, all of the sudden, that one-time petty workplace argument usually has a way of easing or dissolving the very next day.
Check It At The Door
You’re here for the students—Not vice versa. You chose education, earned a degree, and voluntarily set foot on campus and cyberspace. You have the privilege, pleasure, and honor to craft, influence, and share experiences in a lifelong learning journey with students. You are shaping the leaders of the future and the present. Your career, passion, and workplace center around students and learning.
Before the curtain opens: YOU do whatever it takes to get YOU ready for the stage.
Physically: Take care of your body to feel well. Gauge eating, sleeping, and exercise.
Mentally: Find your Happy Place! Compartmentalize negative triggers. Find a reason to smile.
Emotionally: Seek counseling and advice. Intentionally choose NOT to be negative. Intentionally choose to be positive.
Spiritually: Soul-Search your edu- “Why.” Find purposes and causes greater than you.
Anything that’s got you down—by all means—and for the students—please check it at the door. #KidsDeserveIt.