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:
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 PollEverywhere.com.”
“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.