By Lani Aquino
While every day as an educator may not be picture perfect, there is certainly a lot to be said for entering the profession with a glass half full mindset. Education is a career with a bevy of expectations, and the biggest takeaways from heading down this professional path are not the monetary ones. While every year, quarter, day, and class period hold their own uniqueness, there are also some milestones that every teacher will encounter on a regular basis.
With careers lasting 30+ years, there are a lot of cyclical milestones, and there are also a lot of opportunities to make mindset adjustments upon encountering them. There are also situations that may not be cyclical, but they could use a healthy dose of mindful realignment. When the replaying of the negatives is the loudest voice in an educator’s head, burnout or a lackluster attitude are the likeliest results. To build a healthy mindset, practicing the application of a positive spin can do wonders for the psyche and career longevity.
Examples of Healthy Mindset Shifts
Negative Mindset — I cannot wait for Parent-Teacher Conferences to be done.
Healthy Shift — I am glad I have a set time to connect with parents and help reinforce a team effort for ensuring student success.
Negative Mindset — Twenty years closer to retirement!
Healthy Shift — Fifteen more years to make a difference in students’ lives!
Negative Mindset — I can’t handle another new program, curriculum, set of initiatives, etc.
Healthy Shift — I am fortunate to work in a district that recognizes the importance of forward thinking and preparing students for an ever-changing future.
Negative Mindset — Working with _____ is going to be the end of me.
Healthy Shift — While I may not agree with _____’s opinions and/or methods, I can respect our differences and be open-minded when we interact.
Negative Mindset — These large class sizes are making it impossible for me to teach.
Healthy Shift — Working with bigger groups allows for more opinions and perspectives to enlighten the learning process for all.
Negative Mindset — If I have to attend another IEP, 504, RTI meeting, I’m going to scream.
Healthy Shift — Being part of a team that has a common goal of ensuring student success is very rewarding.
Negative Mindset — I cannot be effective with these limited resources.
Healthy Shift — While it’s challenging to work with limited resources, it gives me an opportunity to show students how to make the best use of what’s available and think outside the box.
By trying out these healthy shifts for viewing milestones and roadblocks, a more positive mindset and a happier countenance are likely to result. There is a lot to be said for changing one’s perspective to gain a fresh outlook. Education is a beyond rewarding profession, and sometimes looking at its intricacies through a new lens can be just what’s needed to remind teachers of their reasons for entering it.
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