5 Strategies to Stay Positive in the Classroom

This article was originally published on November 6th, 2017. It has been updated with new information and links.

This blog post was supposed to be about avoiding toxic traps and eliminating toxic thinking to assist in avoiding teacher burnout. That all sounds pretty negative to me, so I decided this topic needed a positive spin. Well, consider it spun! 

“Good Vibes Only!” 

I see this quote on t-shirts, wall art, pencil pouches and throw pillows. I guess we need the reminder.  As for me, I like to think I’m a fairly positive person, but this isn’t really my nature! I’ve had to develop some strategies to change my thinking, adjust my attitude, and flip my script. Since I’m the author of this blog, I’m going to share what has worked for me in the hopes of inspiring you as a teacher. At the very least, you may be moved to think about how you can work toward “good vibes only” in your classroom, your school, and/or in your personal life. 

So here we go, my five strategies for “good vibes only” in no particular order:  

1. Music!

Really loud music: windows down, bass pumping, speaker blowing loud! Teenage drivers are surprised when they roll up next to this old lady! Music calms me down and changes my mood. There’s even research affirming this.  Develop a playlist that changes your thinking, relaxes your brain and body, or gets you moving. You can decide on the volume.  

Classroom hint: Let students listen, too!   

2. Sunshine!

I am a sun worshipper, despite wrinkles, sunspots, and sun damage…I literally feel my body warming and re-energizing when I am in the sun. It’s like I’m a tiny plant with chloroplasts. (That’s all I remember from 7th grade life science. That, and the snakes. Sorry, Ms. Fielder.)  

Classroom hint: Consider taking your class outside. Research outdoor education opportunities. Don’t forget your sunscreen and shades!   

3. Family and friends!

There is just something about spending good ole’ quality time with loved ones. Cook a turkey, play a board game, catch a movie or just chill, but do it with someone who cares about you.  

4. Laughter!

You have got to laugh. I mean really laugh. Giggle, chuckle, and snort! Laugh until you can’t breathe and your stomach hurts! And yes, there is research on this topic as well. 

Classroom hint: Consider a silly poem or a joke of the day!  

5. Take stock!

Develop a gratitude practice to reflect on what you have, and the contributions you make! You have a job, a role, and a calling in the field of education – to make a difference every single day with other human beings.  

Classroom hint:  Teach your students to do the same. At the end of the day, have them name three great things they did during that school day or something they are grateful for.  

Go forth, be positive, and try out these fabulous strategies to a positive teacher’s attitude and “good vibes only.” You and your students can excel with a positive outlook. 

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