Sometimes a school culture can feel a little toxic. The judgements, criticism, burn out, bad attitudes and some just bad days. We are at a time in education where everyone has an option on what success is and they are definitely not the same opinions. Schools are judged on test scores and rankings if they are low we are failing if they are high we are succeeding. But education is so much more than how students score on a test. So how do we stay focused on what is important....our students?
Get out in the halls in the morning to welcome students and high fives on their way out the door. The best part of the day is watching the mob of children head down the halls in the morning. That is my reminder of what I do and why I do it. Not to mention, what other job is out there where people are truly happy to see you each morning and show it.
Welcome kids back when they have been gone and tell them you have missed them. If you have never said this to a child it try it! They are amazed that you would actually miss them. One of my kids said one time “What? You really missed me?”.
Find a place to recharge. I don’t avoid the teachers lounge because I am antisocial I do it because I need to recharge. My grade partner and I sit in my room in the comfy chairs with soft music playing and sometimes just take a breath. The best part is past students who stop in just to say hi and off they go.
Meet kids where they are at but first you need to find where that is. We ALL have struggles (an argument at home, a sick child, worried about someone you care about, deaths in the family, financial stress etc) and so do our students. Check in with the kids as they walk in the door and pay attentions to sad or overly tired faces or that little body that is so excited they might explode. Listen to them! Build meaningful relationships. You have no idea then impact they may have.
Find your tribe and lean on them when you need to. I have those is my building I know I can vent to and let it go. I have access to those who build me up, make me face my short comings, remind me why I love what I do and encourage me to be the best I can. My tribe makes me stronger and more confident. My tribe is who I lean on even if they don’t know I am leaning on them.
Remind yourself when others dull your shine it may have absolutely nothing to do with you. You have no idea the struggles people are facing so be patient, be kind and be understanding.
I wish I had the answer on detoxifying things when they get rough but I don’t. The only thing I know I can do is detoxify my classroom and myself.