I consider myself a naturally positive person, but the classroom can be a hard place to keep that going. Someone is always upset with someone else, there is always a mess somewhere, and I’m constantly having to change my plans. It takes a toll! When positivity doesn’t come naturally, there are some things that help me keep that positive mindset in the classroom.
First and foremost, when I recognize that I’m struggling I make a conscious effort to find something (anything) positive that I can acknowledge. Sometimes this is as small as a child nicely walking across the classroom, or offering to share with another child. I’ll spend the next few minutes looking for as many examples as I can. This tends to turn my own personal mood around pretty quickly.
When I start to notice that I’m having to be more conscious about these moments on a regular basis, then I’ll incorporate some positive activities that the entire class can participate in. I’ve created a space for children to write or draw kind things for each other, printed a bunch of my Happy Notes to send home, filled a jar with pompoms for each kind action I see in the classroom, and removed a link from a paper chain for each kind act until we earn a reward.
Without fail, when I do the work to create a more positive mindset in myself, it always translates to the children. They naturally become kinder, and more positive with each other. Sometimes by the end of winter that’s what we all really need!