Forget Negative Nelly... Embrace Positive Penny!

Attitudes are like a virus—easily caught and easily spread. What are you spreading today? Here's how to maintain a more positive attitude.

By Mollie Moore

Positive Penny

Teacher workrooms are notorious for one thing—gossip. What does gossip typically accomplish? It brings us down. Hardly ever does gossip encourage us. For a moment, we might feel great because we are included in the group or because we feel superior. Those feelings are fleeting and shallow.

So how do we stay positive in such a workplace? What are some things that we can do to encourage ourselves and to help create a positive environment around us? Consider these suggestions for what you can do at work independently, at work with others, and outside of work to start becoming more positive.

At Work—Independently

1. Stay organized. Staying organized will reduce your stress because you will not get frustrated by continually looking for misplaced items. It will allow you to use your time more effectively, which then frees you up to do other things that you enjoy.

2. Create a top-six list. This is, essentially, the six things you need to do the next day. Before you leave school, create this list. When you get to school the next day, you will be able to jump right into work. Your top-six list might include your morning routine basics, like writing the date on the board or putting out supplies.

3. Reduce your stress level. Discover ways to reduce your stress level. You might start saying “No” to extra things or begin collaborating more with other teachers. 

4. Develop a positive memory folder. In your positive memory folder, collect cards from other teachers, parents, and students, sticky notes on which you recorded aha! moments, and notecards to with happy memories from school written on them. This folder can be the pick-me-up you need from time to time.

5. Practice gratitude. Throughout the day and at the end of each day, reflect upon a few things that make you feel thankful. Jot them down in a journal or fill a jar with them.

6. Display positive quotes. Not only will seeing these quotes encourage you, they can also encourage anyone who walks into your classroom.

At Work—In Collaboration

1. Be goal-makers. With some coworkers, develop a few SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely) goals for both in and out of school. This will give you something to work toward and help you see the progress you are making.

2. Celebrate accomplishments. Whether accomplishments are in or out of school, celebrate them. Did someone have a week with fewer discipline issues? Who had a birthday or anniversary? What race did someone run? Find reasons to celebrate.

3. Address tension. If there is enmity between you and a coworker, seek to resolve it as quickly as possible in private. Avoiding the situation only increases tension and apprehension.

Outside of School

1. Take care of yourself. When you feel good about yourself, you automatically have a more positive outlook on life. Sleeping seven to eight hours each night, exercising regularly, and eating healthy food can help you feel better in body and spirit. 

2. Monitor what messages you are receiving. The number of advertisements we encounter each day ranges from 300 to 3,000. We are hit with so many messages communicating to us what we need or how we should think. Incoming messages also come from the music we listen to and the people around us. These messages become our thoughts. What messages are you receiving? Aim to receive messages that promote positivity, encouragement, and joy rather than negativity, gossip, and discontent.

Decide today—will you structure your life to be more of a Negative Nelly or a Positive Penny? Make the choice to use some of these ideas to start a trend of positivity.