I’ll never forget taking a trip to New York City and trying to navigate the Metro Rail System. Talk about stress. It’s busy, it’s packed, and boy, those trains go fast! What made it worse was that I got on the wrong train, and I didn’t realize it until the doors had shut and the train sped off. I went in the opposite direction of where I needed to go, and the thing about trains is that once you’re on it, you won’t be able to get off until it reaches its destination. This is great if you’re going in the right direction but absolutely frustrating if you’re headed in the wrong direction.
Negativity in our schools is like getting on the wrong Metro train. It can come by quickly in the hallways and makes frequent stops in the faculty lounge. Yet every time you jump on board, you will be headed in the wrong direction. Becoming a negative Nancy is easy, but you don’t have to. There are plenty of positive teacher characteristics and ways to stay positive in the workplace.
5 Positive Teacher Characteristics
Here are FIVE positive teacher characteristics that will help you stay off the negative train and make sure you’re on the train that’s heading in the right direction
Finding Positive People
You become like the people you surround yourself with! Negativity only brings people down, so surround yourself with people who will lift you up. Being positive is an important characteristic, although it can often be difficult in the current teaching world.
If you are surrounded by negative people, look for your positive teacher tribe elsewhere. You can always connect with other teachers in your area or via online communities. The teaching profession is so much stronger when we leave negativity behind and work together for the good of our students.
Choose to See the Positives
I remember meeting with my reading specialist as she reviewed the data for the new first graders I would be getting. All of my students except for maybe but one or two were coming into first grade “below level.” Now, when I say “below level, I mean these students didn’t know their letters, and many couldn’t read or write their names.
It would have been easy to complain and jump onto the negative train instead of showing my positive teacher characteristics. But I chose the half-glass full response and said, “Well, we have lots of room for growth then!” We could only go up, right? What we think affects ur attitudes which in turn affects our actions. Let’s be teachers who look for and see the positives. They are there—I promise!
If you have a problem, work it out with that person. Don’t dish it out in the faculty lounge in front of everyone. And if you do need to vent, choose one trusted person who knows you well and can help you productively process everything. Treat others how you want to be treated, and you’ll be sure to stay on the right track!
Take Care of Self-Care
Negativity breeds when teachers are burnt out and stressed out. Ensuring you leave ample time for some self-care each week is a positive teacher characteristic that is very important when it comes to staying off the negative train. Doing things like making sure you’re well-rested, eating nourishing food, taking time to move your body, and spending time with life-giving friends and family members will have a huge impact on keeping your perspective positive.
This is not a math class. Positive teachers do not compare themselves to coworkers or compete again teammates. A school should feel like a large team working together to ensure students learn and grow. It’s important to celebrate each other’s victories and help when there are failures.
The negative train will pull into the station many times during your career. People will try to pull you on, and figuring out whether or not to hop on can be difficult. But you have to make the choice. You can either get on that negative train or focus on these positive teacher characteristics in order to reach the destination where both you, your co-workers and your students can thrive.