I tend to stay relatively calm even when the seas are choppy. I try to look for the learning in a situation rather than creating a complaint when things don’t go well. I look for reasons when I see someone’s behaviour that is rude or negative. I try not to jump to conclusions by assigning intent when I really don’t know.
But, by no means am I perfect. I’m quite imperfect actually.
I have my moments of frustration and if you hang out around me often enough you will see me get a tad ‘grumpy’ every now and then. I get like this when when I’m especially tired or overwhelmed — or when everything around me seems to be an overly dramatic soap-opera.
Being positive is often a choice. So, I work to choose positivity whenever I can. I think better. I respond better. I know I make better decisions.
But, can one’s positive mindset actually make a difference in other areas?
Research seems to think so. We’ve all heard of the placebo effect and how someone with a positive mindset about a drug or therapy can help overcome a physical ailment of some kind. And while it might seem obvious, I went looking for some evidence to see if there is any link between a positive attitude and a better educational experience.
Autumn is the season of cooler weather, crisp leaves on the ground and corn on the cob — all worth looking forward to for sure. But, for me and others in public education, September is also our New Year. It’s a time of starting again, the excitement of seeing the kids back in classrooms, maybe some fun new equipment in the school and the optimism of tackling new challenges with some energy in one’s personal tank.
It’s really a great time of year.
As I enter my 34th year in public education that excitement is still there — freshly polished floors, big ideas on our learning agenda and a bunch of exciting new projects to tackle.
Yet, similar to last fall there is still a feeling of anxiety amongst many in our community. COVID continues to provide a significant distraction for many and a challenge for us as we focus on teaching and learning.
Your heart is pounding. Your palms are sweating. Your stomach is doing flips. And then there are your pervasive thoughts — as you feel these physical symptoms your mind is spinning with worry and fear.
Now picture this as if you were a child. Your life experiences may be minimal. Your ability to be resilient may also be limited. And you are fearful.
I’m not a psychologist. Not a therapist nor a counsellor. Nope — I’m not a mental health professional. My background is a science teacher who’s now a Superintendent — certainly not a trained expert on mental health or anxiety. But, it’s something I’ve been learning about.