By Susan Jerrell, TOFT Founder
Positivity makes a difference
Pass on the positivity. It is easy to get caught up in the day to day procedures of teaching and even when we think something positive about someone, how often do we share it? Think how much a pat on the back, a thank you or a positive comment boosts your morale. Now imagine if you could do the same for someone else.
You can. It is quick, easy, and cheap or free. Take a couple minutes to make a connection and watch what happens.
Pass on the positivity to fellow teachers
The teacher next door has had a rough week. You can listen, you can commiserate, you can agree, but while that may be appreciated, take it a step further.
Here’s how to spread positivity:
- Stick a positive note on their desk in the morning.
- Tell them you are available if they need you.
- Share one thing you have noticed that you admire about them.
- Text them midday and share a funny gif or meme.
- Drop off a snack with a note of encouragement.
When you see a teacher doing something awesome. Don’t just think, “That is cool!” Tell them.
- I loved that activity.
- Your students seemed so excited about doing XYZ. Can you tell me more about it?
- You are working so hard, and it really shows!
- I like how you always greet your students with such enthusiasm.
- Can you tell me how your students always seem so well behaved in the hallway?
Pass on the positivity with support staff
Administrative assistants and support staff often get the brunt of everyone’s frustrations. You can make a positive difference.
Here’s how you can spread positivity:
- Remind them how vital they are to the function of the school with a thank you note.
- Bring them a donut in the morning with a note that says, “I donut know what we would do without you.”
- Set a flower on their desk with a note that says, “I hope this brightens your day as much as you brighten mine.”
- Offer to sit at their desk during lunch so they can leave the building.
- Make an effort to just be friendly with them, to pick up after yourself and to make sure your students do as well.
Pass on the positivity with admin as well
Administrators are a little tricky because you don’t want to appear that you are sucking up to them. When appropriate and preferably without an audience, you can also pass on the positivity with them as well. While the relationship you have with your admin will determine your approach.
Here are some ideas for positivity:
- Drop them a short note that simply says, “I know the hours you put in here to make this school successful. I appreciate your hard work.”
- After a successful Professional Development (yes, they do exist) thank them. Be specific and tell them why it was beneficial. “Thank you for bringing in Joe Shmoe. I was able to get three specific ideas I can use in my classroom this semester.”
- If you have an admin who runs successful meetings, by all means let them know. “I really like that you do not cover items that you have already covered in an email. I appreciate that you respect our time.”
- When you know they have been especially beaten up by a parent or student let them know you appreciate them by sending them a note of encouragement with a cartoon or meme they will appreciate.
- When they show up at your art show, academic meet, awards banquet or anything else that is not explicitly part of their job be sure you and your students send them a thank you note. Good administrators put in countless extra hours, too often without any gratitude.
Students need positivity too
Finally, you can pass on the positivity to your students. When you catch a student doing something nice for someone else, when they are doing well in your classroom or showing improvement in attitude, behavior or academics let them know.
Be sure to share the positivity by:
- Verbally acknowledge what they did. “You did a great job helping a classmate today.” “Thank you for staying in your seat.” “I know you are super excited about your game tonight, but I really appreciate how hard you worked at paying attention in class.” These short comments go a long way, and I kid you not, you will notice a change in their facial expressions and posture. They get taller right before your eyes.
- You can take it a step further by sending them a short note in the mail. Everyone loves to get mail, and it only takes a minute or two to write a postcard or thank you note. Set a goal to send one out each day, or a few at the end of the week.
- Take the positivity even further and call or email the student’s parent. I doubt there has ever been a parent who disliked hearing something positive about their child.
Even though you are not spreading positivity with the intended purpose of gaining positivity for yourself, it naturally happens. There is a payoff.
Positivity makes you more grateful. It spreads goodwill that is reciprocated. Finally, passing on the positivity creates allies and builds your own network of supporters. Look around and see where you can spread positivity. You’ll be glad you did.