Be the non-negative one

Let me paint you a picture.

You’re in the teacher’s lounge. Or workroom. Or front office. Wherever. You’re talking with your colleagues about the goings-on in school that day. Each teacher is taking a turn recounting the day’s events in their classroom.

What are they talking about?

Negative things. A kid was on their phone. A kid cheated. A kid talked back. A kid jumped out the window. Ok, hopefully not that last one, but you get my point. Doesn’t it seem like everyone at school is always talking about the negative events of the day? Here’s a news flash for all you Debbie Downers out there: There are MANY positive things that happen EVERY day if you just open your eyes.

So, I challenge you: Be the non-negative one. Be positive for crying out loud! And I mean, hit them hard with it. You need your colleagues to KNOW that you want the school environment to be positive and supportive. How else is change going to happen? Here are some easy examples of things to say when people are trying to suck you into the negativity pit.


Example #1: The Standard Response

Talk about something positive that happened in your classroom.

“One of my kiddos told me today that they only stay awake in MY class. So sweet.”

“This morning my adorable little students made my day by working quietly on the warm-up.”

“A student told me today that she liked me so much that she was going to show up at my wedding and throw Swedish Fish instead of rice.”


Example #2: The Silly Response

Throw something out that will make people stop and look at you funny. Maybe even chuckle?

I wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy.”

“Did you know that mussels have the longest penises of any animal compared to their overall body size?”

“Did you know Pixar is making a Toy Story 4?!”


Tip: You should always have a cute/silly face lined up in case the looks you get need to be diffused. Here’s a prime example:

Who can resist laughing when you give them this look?!


Example #3: The Lead-by-Example Response

Try to give your colleagues some helpful advice, especially if they don’t ask for it.

“Whenever my kiddos bully somebody I just tell them they have a receding hairline. Works every time.”

“Oh, your students were on their cellphones in class? That’ll probably change in the near future. Oh wait, no…it won’t. Ever. Roll with it! Make them USE their phones for something class-related, like research or a poll on”

“You had a tough day? Go out for a beer after work. In fact, you can buy me one.”

Example #4: The I-Once-Knew-A-Guy Response

Make up a ridiculous story to scare your colleagues out of being negative all the time.

“I once knew a guy that got mad at students being little jerks all the time. He had a stroke in class.”

“I once knew a guy that yelled at his students for talking during notes. They staged an uprising and created the USSR.”

“I once knew a guy that was always unhappy at work. He got fired because everyone hated him.”

Tip: Say, “True story,” after each of these. They’ll have no choice but believe you.


The overall message here: Break. The. Mold! Don’t get sucked into the negativity pit that your coworkers are digging! One candle can illuminate an entire room. One happy teacher can make an entire school a better place to work and to learn.


I have a unique perspective on teaching. As a young guy, I still have that “world is my oyster” perspective on life, so I am more than willing to try new things in the pursuit of happiness. I have always been a naturally happy person and don’t shy away from trying to make others see that it’s easy to be happy! Thus, the blog you’re reading. The main impetus for actually putting all the work in to getting this blog up and running? A coworker stopped me in the hall one day and actually reprimanded me for being so smiley all the time. They actually said that I shouldn’t be so happy as a teacher! My response? Screw that! I SHOULD be happy. I now smile at that coworker EVERY time I see them…and usually say something like, “Isn’t this such great day to be a teacher?!” They don’t usually smile back… Don’t be like them.

Posted in Positivity Tagged with: , , , , , ,
4 comments on “Be the non-negative one
  1. What a great idea. I love your happy personality and so do the students.

  2. ABloomquist says:

    Josh you are so awesome! So glad we are colleagues!

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