July 31, 2021
Nearly by definition, educators are a passionate people.
Indeed, the work is sacred. Getting it right might require unique character, values, and skills.
I’m thoroughly thinking through more… perceptions as reality. To be sure, there are beautiful sunsets and frantic flash floods. There are shoutouts and teacher lounge snowballs. There are people and more people.
I’m wondering about this whole toxic-labeling thing. After all, people have good and bad–days and moments. It’s the human element on full display. I’m still not sure that assumptions placed on educators in any given instance are always fair–especially without proper context and amidst the era of all-things-covid. C’mon.
A recent conversation with a kindergarten teacher really got me thinking. Maybe it was the nurture-leaning domain of all-things-elementary school that influenced my vision of positivity. Maybe it was me who perceived it like: Some people are always positive. Wait–Is toxic positivity a thing? Seemingly insincere. Sooooo…. fake?
Toxic positivity might become a misleading perception in terms of authenticity and credibility.
Then, there’s the traditional stereotype that educators are required to sacrifice themselves–their personal authenticity, identity, and relative humanity as a part of the profession. Sheer martyrdom for the cause! Check it at the door. After all, it’s a calling, right?
Further, what’s the opportunity cost? I mean, if you’re not always positive, then you’re… negative? Is there a place for perceived negativity in education circles? Some people are always negative. Wait–Is toxic negativity a thing?
Toxic negativity is a dangerous contagion in terms of mental health and culture.
Is this it? Are these the only two options?
Is there a middle ground?
Is there an arena in which to rumble in the middle?
Is there a place where one can be brave enough to be vulnerable?
Is there a place where one can be wholehearted enough to be authentic?
Is there a place where one can be human enough to be empathetic?
Maybe we should ditch the labels. After all, labels, if not merely rooted in one’s perception, might obstruct meaningful learning and collaborative opportunities. Labels obstruct context, clarity, and depth in humanity. Does a label ever, wholly define one’s identities and behaviors?
At the end of the day, it’s about people. Consider the #wholechild–and the #wholeteacher.
Allow people to feel all the feelings–whether you perceive that reality as positive, negative, or toxic. Yet…
The Invitation Remains:
Chances are… The middle ground not only exists–The fans in the arena will give you a standing ovation just for your willingness to enter.