I am usually a fountain of positivity. I tend to assume that people’s behaviours are motivated by the best intentions. I often fall into the role of supporting others at work, helping them deal with their stresses and anxieties. Over the past few months this has changed.
There have been big changes at my school and to my teaching position this year. I used to feel valued, supported, and like I had input into school decisions. This year I have felt ignored, left out of decisions, mislead and targeted. Did I feel this way because of the changes around me or because of my internal dialogue?
Changes were made that negatively affected my teaching position. It was my time to turn to colleagues for support, my turn to be vulnerable. This is not a role I have been comfortable with and it was scary to let friends know how upset I was. I received a lot of sympathy from my coworkers and together we wished things were different.
Through my teacher training we were continually told to avoid negativity. We were reminded time and time again to find the positive people on staff who would help to build us up. What I wasn’t told was how easy it is to fall into a state of “misery loves company.” My colleagues and I thought we were supporting each other by allowing time to vent our frustrations, but overall it just made me more negative and mistrusting.
My saving grace this school year has been my PLN on Twitter. The educators I have connected with are working to improve their schools & districts to benefit all students. Through blogs, articles and Twitter chats I’ve been inspired to try new things, developed a deeper understanding of my beliefs about education, and reaffirmed what I know about being a good leader. Most importantly, though, I have learned to celebrate the things my school does well.
I recently read a post about how to be your best self in less than satisfactory conditions and this really struck me:
I’ve tried to change what I can. I’ve let others know how their decisions have made me feel. I’ve come to realize that no one else can take away the hurt and mistrust I have been feeling. It is up to me to forgive others, celebrate the positives and connect with those who will build me up. I will learn from my experiences and continue to return to assuming the best of people. Sympathy is nice, but it is a slippery slope to negativity. I am going to choose the positive path, looking for windows of opportunity beside every closed door.