Do you ever notice our fascination with bad news, crazy tweets or others’ misfortunes? The web is full of these kinds of stories, whether about celebrities or everyday people. It’s everywhere, and I see it in education too.
We love to tell about how much marking or how many emails we have. Or about that student whose behaviour causes us grief. Or about how the public doesn’t appreciate the work we do. Does that elevate the profession?
I believe that we need to battle against the tendency towards “war stories.” Negativity attracts negativity. Sharing bad news just ends up making me feel worse, not better. A few years ago, I made a commitment to myself to stop telling these anecdotes. I’ve succeeded, sort of, so I keep working at it. What I try to share is good news.
I’ve read many tweets about the importance of telling our positive stories of success and celebration, for if we don’t, who will? We need to be the ones who show the fantastic work teachers, educational assistants, caretakers, office staff, early childhood educators, principals and vice principals do. Every day, we can make a difference in someone’s life, whether we understand our impact or not. If we can see the light all around in classrooms and in schools, then when someone asks, “How’s work?” we can respond with amazing accounts of what we do day to day. We can describe the parent who came in to tell us how happy they are with their daughter’s progress. We can tell about the talent show where that quiet kid got up the courage to try out. Or we can share how one student with autism learned a new word. These stories of joy exist in all of our schools.
Can you imagine?