'Hello hello teachers of the world – how are you keeping?'
Or maybe that is a bit of a silly question these days. I say that because it’s often met with a grunt or a sigh or a raised eyebrow or even, sometimes, an exaggerated glare. Regardless, I will continue asking because I like to know what’s going on. Some will share about how the queue at the local supermarket is still long and slow, others will say that they are about to throw their laptop out of their recently converted home office, some will say that their neighbour is playing the guitar too loudly and then you might find one or two who will share that they are absolutely loving the evening walks with family. They might even whisper it with a sense of slight guilt. There is something different about these people.
Now then. Now then. These are the people who cause me to lean in closer (towards the screen of course). These are the ones who have something different about them. Their posture is broader, the smiles are genuine smiles and their tone is welcoming.
I don’t even need to compare these exceptional humans with the majority in this situation because you and I both know the outcome. Instead, how about trying to figure out the magical reason that exception stands out and stands out for the better.
It’s as simple as they understand that positivity and optimism are choices.
That same individual is going through the pandemic. That same individual is working from home. That same individual is struggling with home schooling. That same individual is also spending more time with their partner than in their entire pre-lockdown relationship. That same individual has a different thought process.
Their external world is the same. Their internal world is massively different. That is the game changer. Granted, that is just a simple example and a one-off situation but most likely, that individual is probably sleeping better at night than the rest.
The way our brain is wired means that negative thoughts gain the majority of our attention. These negative thoughts are most often due to stress, fear or anger. Maybe even a combination of all three. Of course, it then becomes a habit and then a neurological pathway and before you know it, an ingrained sense of stubbornness. The older you get, the harder it is to change.
Believe it or not, the process is the exact same for a positive thought. The reason why less people are positive is because it’s tough.
It’s tough to start seeing the blue on a cloudy day. It’s tough to count the times you laughed and not moaned in a day. It’s tough to put your phone away before bed instead of scrolling for another 5 minutes. It’s tough to be compassionate when a parent is frustrated with you. It’s tough. Although did anyone ever say it was going to be easy?
Rewiring your brain to be positive is a choice. You must start and keep at it for 21-28 days for a habit to form. Do it. Commit to it and feel the magic happen. You’ll feel different, for the better.
I’m not suggesting you log in and start the week saying ‘GOOD MORNING TEAM, DIDN’T THE WEEKEND DRAG?’ – that’s too far. That’s what we call a Grinagog, a word from the 1600s, give it a Google.
What I most definitely highly recommending is that you give yourself, your students, your colleagues and your loved ones the chance to have an EPIC day.
It must start with you. And it must be a conscious effort. Take that first step and save yourself the neck ache, keep looking forwards. What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.
Thank you for being an inspiration. Teachers are the everyday superheroes and the world LOVES YOU!
With a keen interest in the neuroscience and psychology of learning, WAGOLL Teaching is about sharing research alongside great, simple teaching ideas to a global teaching community.
Ben has been in education for over 10 years and is passionate about simplifying high quality teaching and learning through innovative and practical approaches in the classroom.