Friday, November 11, 2022

Friday Blather

Am I really toxically positive if I want to slap people who use phrases like "toxic positivity"?

Years ago, I took a course about school environment that discussed the fact that students might not have any pleasant interactions with people, and if teachers greet them pleasantly, it can make a difference in their lives. Frequent Readers know that I don't believe I make any real difference in anyone's life, but this thought has stuck with me. 

There are so many teachers who complain, or who say things like "Almost Friday!" (to which I reply in a chipper tone "One day closer to death!"; never been a fan of wishing time away, no matter how horrible the day is!), and who get upset and yell at students who run in the hall. For some reason, a lot of teachers and students think I am an understanding ear and tell me their problems, probably because they know I don't gossip, because I don't think I come across as warm and understanding. So yes, life is hard right now. But I'm not in Ukraine, or evacuating inner city London children to the countryside during the Blitz. I have indoor plumbing.

There have been personal challenges this fall, and for the first time, I was asked to do something at work that was, well, impossible. By choice, I work ridiculous hours, and never shirk from any task assigned, but because of substitute shortages, I was given a scheduled "planning period" and placed on a class coverage roster for one period a day. Problem was that three days a week, I was teaching classes that period. I was pulled two minutes into a class to go cover in another part of the building, and had to leave a language arts teacher and her class in the library. The teacher had seen my five minute lesson several times, so delivered the information to students, but no one could check out books. I might have twelve classes a day (about 200 students, plus study hall drop ins), and during the one free period of the day, have to teach a social studies class to the library. 

My union rep and I had a productive meeting with my assistant principal, and we have things worked out for now, but it made the days more stressful than they needed to be.

What's the point here? Complaining daily doesn't help anyone. I come to work trying to spread sunshine and violets everywhere I go. In the hallways, I caution students to walk so they remain safe. "Thank you for walking!" instead of the more negative "Don't run!" If they cut through the library, I might say something like "While I love to see you, we don't want to wear out the carpet, so let's use the hallway instead, please." I smile and try to greet students by name. Who knows? Maybe that tips someone's day to the positive side rather than the negative. 

November is tough for me, but you know what? I walked to work before it started raining. I have only half of the 8th grade today. My PermaBound order is on its way. I might get to sit in a doorway between the library and a classroom and drink a cup of tea for lunch with a friend who is subbing. All good things.

Go be positive. Smile. Perform random acts of kindness. And those positive people in YOUR life? Thank them. It will be appreciated. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh, you tell them, Karen! I need to hear it too. It's SO much easier to be negative and SO difficult to be positive in times of stress but guess which one leaves the world and my interior landscape in better shape?