Sunday, March 27, 2016

Three Mind Shifts to Start Off Your Teaching Week

Life is full of opposites. There are opposites of positive and negative, sunlight and darkness, up and down like a teeter-totter ride. However, each one of these entities requires energy. I can either use my energy toward positive, or easily let the negativity power my life. This week, let's focus on three things we can do to have a better week.

Mind Shift #1: Change the Message You Send Yourself
Most people breathe life into their negative energy, and then are surprised when their lives are overrun by terrible and often just inconvenient events. Every day we are greeted by people during the school day. When someone asks you how you are doing, do you usually say "I am so tired", or "I am so done with Student B"? Bear with me here...this is the invitation. You have addressed an envelope, care of yourself, and invited this very scenario into your life. If you say you're tired, then you ARE tired. If you say you're sick of someone's behavior, their behavior is magnified. You are focusing your energy on the very thing you are trying to avoid. If you're tired of being sick and tired, then change the message! Next time you find yourself saying "I feel anxious", or "I don't want to go to work", you have to change the message. Just a simple shift like that will change a lot of things for you.

Mind Shift #2: Choose to See the Reality
The sun shines all day providing energy to millions of people on the earth, but at night there is still light. Even at the darkest moments, there happens to be light. Choose to see it. Maybe it is shifting your focus away from the one or two things that just eat away at you and finding three things that make you happy. The denominator of joy and kindness will always be greater than the numerator of sadness and sorrow (Daniel Goleman). At the end of each day, write down in your plan book, or calendar, or wherever you have a place 3 things that gave you joy that day. They can be very simple things, but maybe they are big things too! Don't acknowledge in writing the daily sufferings of teaching, but know that they exist. The reality is that the denominator of joy is always greater!

Mind Shift #3: Energy is Contagious-Be Careful What You Spread
I solemnly swear that I am not up on my high horse on this one. I say this with a humble heart, because I have participated in and sat idly by during rant sessions. Every teacher knows the rant session because we secretly loathe them, but we cannot seem to extricate ourselves from the vice grip of its jaws. Maybe you are the ring leader of the rant sessions, and you derive great joy from having others say "yeah, you're right!" or "I know, he/she is horrible!". Truth: your energy is contagious. Be careful what you spread because that is your legacy. It is how people around you, be it students or colleagues, will remember you. It is up to you to set the tone. In your classroom, in the office, and in the lunch room. It is up to you! Please, I beg you, be on the positive uptick of the tone that is set at your school site. We have enough stress as teachers without having to sit during our lunch, or walk into the office hearing about everything that's wrong in our school. This is the teeter-totter effect. When something shifts into negative, teeter-totter a positive. If you say something negative, balance it with a positive to counter-act some of that feeling of hopelessness or frustration, or whatever emotion you are feeling. We can operate our lives with a grateful heart.

Repeat after me:

  • I will change the messages I send to myself and the world. I am shifting my perspective and I will be patient and empathetic with myself when it doesn't go smoothly. I am using my energy in a way that benefits me and my students, not the other way around. 
  • I am going to find three things at the end of each day that brought me joy. I will write them down every day so that I can remember them, and read them back to myself when I have a bad day.
  • I am going to counter-act every negative with a positive, and balance the teeter-totter at my school site. I will consciously be careful of what kind of energy I am spreading because it's contagious like a virus. 
Check in with me via Facebook or Twitter/Instagram @lilmommareader. 

Have a great week! 

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