The Power of a Positive Educator

The Power of a Positive Educator

 

When I think about the teachers who made a difference in my life I realize they were all positive. Mrs. Liota smiled every day and made me feel loved. Coach Caiazza believed in me while Mr. Ehmann encouraged me to be my best. Years later as I think about the impact these teachers had on my life it’s clear that being a positive educator not only makes you better it makes everyone around you better. Positive educators have the power to transform lives and inspire young minds to believe they can and will change the world. In this spirit here are seven ways we can all choose to be a positive educator.

1. Be Positively Contagious – Research shows that emotions are contagious. Sincere smiles, kind words, encouragement and positive energy infect people in a positive way. On the flip side your students are just as likely to catch your bad mood as the swine flu. So each day you come to school you have a choice. You can be a germ or a big dose of Vitamin C. When you choose to be positively contagious your positive energy has a positive impact on your students, your colleagues and ultimately your school culture. Your students will remember very little of what you said but they will remember 100% of how you made them feel. I remember Mrs. Liota and her smile and love and it made all the difference.

2. Take a Daily Thank you Walk – It’s simple, it’s powerful, and it’s a great way to feed yourself with positivity. How does it work? You simply take a walk… outside, in a mall, at your school, on a treadmill, or anywhere else you can think of, and think about all the things, big and small, that you are grateful for. The research shows you can’t be stressed and thankful at the same time so when you combine gratitude with physical exercise, you give yourself a double boost of positive energy. You flood your brain and body with positive emotions and natural antidepressants that uplift you rather than the stress hormones that drain your energy and slowly kill you. By the time you get to school you are ready for a great day.

3. Celebrate Success – One of the simplest, most powerful things you can do for yourself and your students is to celebrate your daily successes. Instead of thinking of all things that went wrong at school each day focus on the one thing that went right. Try this: Each night before you go to bed think about the one great thing about your day. If you do this you’ll look forward to creating more success tomorrow. Also have your students do this as well. Each night they will go to bed feeling like a success and they will wake up with more confidence to take on the day.

4. Expect to Make a Difference – When positive educators walk into their classroom they expect to make a difference in their student’s lives. In fact, making a difference is the very reason why they became a teacher in the first place and this purpose continues to fuel them and their teaching. They come to school each day thinking of ways they can make a difference and expecting that their actions and lessons will lead to positive outcomes for their students. They win in their mind first and then they win in the hearts and minds of their students.

5. Believe in your students more than they believe in themselves – I tried to quit lacrosse during my freshman year in high school but Coach Caiazza wouldn’t let me. He told me that I was going to play in college one day. He had a vision for me that I couldn’t even fathom. He believed in me more than I believed in myself. I ended up going to Cornell University and the experience of playing lacrosse there changed my life forever. The difference between success and failure is belief and so often this belief is instilled in us by someone else. Coach Caiazza was that person for me and it changed my life. You can be that person for one of your students if you believe in them and see their potential rather than their limitations.

6. Develop Positive Relationships – Author Andy Stanley once said, “Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.” {Tweet That} Far too many principals share rules with their teachers but they don’t have a relationship with them. And far too many teachers don’t have positive relationships with their students. So what happens? Teachers and students disengage from the mission of the school. I’ve had many educators approach me and tell me that my books helped them realize they needed to focus less on rules and invest more in their relationships. The result was a dramatic increase in teacher and student performance, morale and engagement. To develop positive relationships you need to enhance communication, build trust, listen to them, make time for them, recognize them, show them you care through your actions and mentor them. Take the time to give them your best and they will give them your best.

7. Show you Care – It’s a simple fact. The best educators stand out by showing their students and colleagues that they care about them. Standardized test scores rise when teachers make time to really know their students. Teacher performance improves when principals create engaged relationships with their teachers. Teamwork is enhanced when educators know and care about one another. Parents are more supportive when educators communicate with their student’s parents. The most powerful form of positive energy is love and this love transforms students, people and schools when it is put into action. Create your own unique way to show your students and colleagues you care about them and you will not only feel more positive yourself but you will develop positive kids who create a more positive world.

If you commit to being a positive educator I encourage you to read and commit to The Positive Teacher Pledge.

The Positive Teacher Pledge

  • I pledge to be a positive teacher and positive influence on my fellow educators, students and school.
  • I promise to be positively contagious and share more smiles, laughter, encouragement and joy with those around me.
  • I vow to stay positive in the face of negativity.
  • When I am surrounded by pessimism I will choose optimism.
  • When I feel fear I will choose faith.
  • When I want to hate I will choose love.
  • When I want to be bitter I will choose to get better.
  • When I experience a challenge I will look for opportunity to learn and grow and help others grow.
  • When faced with adversity I will find strength.
  • When I experience a set-back I will be resilient.
  • When I meet failure I will fail forward and create a future success.
  • With vision, hope, and faith, I will never give up and will always find ways to make a difference.
  • I believe my best days are ahead of me, not behind me.
  • I believe I’m here for a reason and my purpose is greater than my challenges.
  • I believe that being positive not only makes me better, it makes my students better.
  • So today and every day I will be positive and strive to make a positive impact on my students, school and the world!

Download, Print and Share The Positive Teacher Pledge Here.

Comment On and Share This Article Here.

– Jon

Reblogged from the Jon Gordon newsletter

100% College Admission – How Sad

100% College Admission – How Sad

Dan Miller

Last Sunday on a leisure drive back from lunch we passed one of the most prestigious private high schools in our area. A sign was proudly posted at the front entrance stating: “100% College Admission for our Seniors – again.”

I’ll have to admit I cringed on seeing that. Now I know that any high school principal who doesn’t claim this as his/her goal is likely to be accused of not having the students best interests at heart and would also likely be run out of town by indignant parents. But personally, I think there is a major elitism at play here. And ultimately, a lot of those students suffer as a result. Is our goal really to prepare every student for life in a cubicle? In looking at my grandchildren I see those who would

weep at such a prospect.

The elitism is in believing that every occupation pursued by a path outside of college is somehow “lower” and not a worthy pursuit for our students. We have become a culture that looks down on labor and craftsman positions. So, really, in this graduating class we will have no Ferrari mechanics, no sculptors, no HVAC specialists, no one I can contact to design another water feature, no skilled carpenters, no stone masons, no welders and no piano tuners?

Two days ago I had a young man come out to do the spring check-up on our air conditioning systems. Just a check-up, no parts were required. He was here less than two hours and my bill was $149. Yesterday my John Deere tractor was returned with new bearings in the front wheels. Total bill – $2690.78. Most of that was labor – billed at $70/hour. At the same time I have a young attorney friend who is working part time at Kinkos at $10 to supplement his income. The HVAC guy and tractor mechanic – $70 an hour.

In 1942, Joseph Schumpeter wrote that the expansion of “higher education” beyond what our labor market demands creates for white-collar workers “employment in substandard work or at wages below those of the better-paid manual workers.” And then he added, “it may create unemployability of a particularly disconcerting type. The man who has gone to college or university easily becomes psychically unemployable in manual occupations without necessarily acquiring employability in professional work.”* I’m sure you know people who are stuck in $12/hour jobs who would never lower themselves to work in something like being a tractor mechanic.

If we consider our children to be smart and really want the best for them, should we not consider a broad range of occupational possibilities?

I must admit I’ve made a very good living working with people who at 45 years of age admit they are living someone else’s dream. As we unpack that incongruity and begin to move toward an authentic life, all kinds of things come to the surface as meaningful work possibilities. Pastors have become artists, dentists forest rangers, and doctors organic gardeners.

Having the ability to go to college is not enough reason for doing so. There must be more of an alignment with a person’s values, dreams and passions. I have worked with countless professionals who have proven their academic ability to create a life they detest.

Space does not allow for addressing the outsourcing issue. Many of the jobs college students trained for can now easily be outsourced to China of Taiwan. However, if I need my roof repaired, drain unclogged, lawn mowed, or want another beautiful sculpture of a standing tree on my property, I can’t have someone in China provide that service. People with those skills are immune from outsourcing. Or as has been said, “You can’t hammer a nail over the internet.”

Let’s stop depriving our children of their best options. I’d like to see that sign say – 60% college, 10% trade school, 10% continuing family business, 10% entrepreneurs, and 10% world travel to further clarify a career path. That would make me want to send my child there.

Okay – bring it on. I’m sure this will be offensive to many. How would you defend this ridiculous goal of 100% college admission?

*(Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1942; New York: Harper-Perennial)

Reblogged: 48days.com

Inspiration to Go Above and Beyond Everyday

WestJet’s latest feature in its Above and Beyond Stories series features a London, Ontario high school student named Josh. After his father passed away, not only was he feeling depressed and alone, but he was bullied relentlessly by the kids at school.

Then one day it all changed when he decided to open doors. It was a simple act, but it had a big impact that helped him change his life around. The kindness didn’t end there though, you’ll have to see the video.

Opening a door is more than a physical act. It’s about putting yourself out there, getting to know people, making them feel comfortable, and making them feel welcome. Josh decided to make a change that ultimately had a dramatic impact on his life and on the lives of his fellow students. We hope his story is as inspiring to you as it is to us.

It’s remarkable how a simple act of kindness toward others changed Josh’s world. Even more remarkable is the profound impact it had on every single person around him.

Josh set out to show his new school who he truly was — a genuine, caring individual. In return, his schoolmates showed him he’s much more — a role model and a king. Thank you, Josh. You are as courageous and as kind hearted as they come.
See more stories of people going above and beyond the call of duty at http://aboveandbeyond.ca