I love this past week's #edchat. It was all on teacher morale. After batting around who's responsibility it is to keep morale up, I think we all left the conversation realizing that we are responsible for our own morale. The best ways to keep your morale up is to help a fellow teacher and focus on the students. After all, how can you feel bad when you are helping someone else -- whether it is a child or colleague?
As teachers, we set the tone of our classroom. It is up to us to create the loving, nurturing environments that our students deserve -- no matter what. Of course, this is much easier to deliver when we are supported by the administration, parents and colleagues. When this support is absent, how do we do it? It suddenly becomes so easy to fall into traps of negative conversation and blaming.
One thing I do to help myself in times like this is to have a gratitude share with my class. I ask my students to get into a circle, close their eyes and think of something or someone for whom they are grateful. Then we all share. One by one, as the children share, I feel the fog lift. Some choose to pass. That's fine, you can't force gratitude. But when it comes time for me to share, I find myself always telling them that I am genuinely grateful for each and every one of them and how I appreciate their beautiful smiles that greet me at the start of each day. I feet myself shift. I feet the whole room shift. Together we create the atmosphere of the day. And it always turns out to be one of those days in which everything just flows.
Lately we've even extended this to include an entry into their gratitude journal. Sometimes I even see a student here and there writing in this journal during free time!
It's impossible to feel bad when you are feeling grateful. Try it. You won't be able to stay mad, angry, sad or defeated. Gratitude is just at too high of a frequency. Why not teach this to children? I wish I had learned it at a young age.