Keeping a Positive Teacher Mindset and Perspective

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As human beings and especially teachers, we have a very strong tendency to get ourselves wrapped up in the ins-and-outs of everyday life. Teachers by nature are nurturers, and we want not only to make sure that we’re doing everything correctly but that we are doing it in the best interest of those we are serving. Sometimes we have a tendency to get ourselves so wrapped up in the little things that we find ourselves in a stressful situation that has completely lost perspective of what really matters and is important. Don’t get me wrong: the landscape of education is certainly changing and has been for several years now. We have more stress on our plates than we ever had before and we’re not trained in our teaching programs on how to deal with that the most effective way possible and keep a positive teacher mindset.

However, sometimes the universe has a way of smacking you in the head to help you take a step back and have a somewhat “out of body” experience to realize the stress that you’re putting on yourself is not as important as what you have shoved onto the back burner. We discussed previously that most stressors in our lives will not really matter five years into the future. We may even look back upon them and laugh, Of course, this is not the case with every scenario, but so often it is. 

Keeping a Positive Teacher Mindset

So how do we check ourselves when we have lost perspective of what is important. This seems so hard to do, not because it is difficult to execute, but because when we are wrapped up in a situation, it is hard to pull ourselves out of it to see what is going on. Often losing perspective is our way of trying to keep hold of something that is out of our control. We give so much of ourselves into different parts of our lives that often we take the other parts of our lives for granted.

Think about it on the most basic level in our classroom. Sometimes we put so much effort into students that are just under our skin or even under our wings and then the others slip through the cracks because we’re spending too much time on the ones that we think that needed the most. I know as a teacher it is difficult to manage that, but one of the reasons we have trouble is because we lose perspective. We want so hard to know that we have control and the ability to fix or change or improve or what-have-you, that we lose sight of the bigger picture. We want all of our students to be successful–WE want to be successful–but we get so wrapped up in all-of-the-things that we can’t control or spend too much time focusing on things that just take up too much of our time. We need to break this cycle. 

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It seems to be a recurring theme to mention here at Student-Centered World, but we can’t do what we have always done given what we are being given as teachers today any longer. We need to find a way to make sure we keep perspective every single day with what’s going on in the classroom and in our personal lives. We all know that sometimes they overlap just as they do for our students, but we find ways to make it work. You need to find a way to figure out what works for you as an individual. Maybe it is having a coworker that you know you can speak with that can help you and you can help them. Maybe it is by using a gratitude journal to kind of help you focus on what is important in your life. Maybe it is really ramping up your self-care just so you have time to decompress so all the little things do not become so monstrous to you. Just like anything else, it is a matter of finding your own avenue to success when it comes to your mental well-being.

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Life is going to throw you curveballs…most likely when you can least afford or expect it. We can’t control that. The only thing in this world that you can control is how you react to the hand that you are dealt at any given time. The sooner we find a way to support one another and to support ourselves in this journey, the better we will all be in the long run. Again, I am not saying that this is going to be easy, but we need to make a conscious effort to try to keep perspective.  This keeps us grounded, keeps us focused, and makes sure that we are on our game all the time.

It is when we lose that positive teacher mindset that we lose our vision and we lose why we are in the classroom doing what we are doing. Not every day is going to be perfect; not even every week or month or school year will be perfect, but if we keep that perspective, we remember why we are playing the game as opposed to why we are just dealt the cards that we have in our hand, it makes all the difference in the world. Take some time to sit back and remember what is your vision for your classroom, why are you a teacher, and what do you want to achieve? When you figure that out and you keep those visions in the forefront of your mind and keep it the perspective clear, it makes all the difference and it makes you stay on task with what you want to achieve in your career.

No teacher wants to burn out. No teacher wants to feel defeated. In the climate of so many of our educational institutions, this is much easier to happen than for previous generations of educators. We need to remember why we became teachers and find ways to persevere. Our students deserve teachers who are able to care for them appropriately because they have already taken care of themselves (go ahead and read that line again). We need to make sure our ability to give is preserved by giving to ourselves first. It’s the only way we’re all going to make it!

About Jenn

After moving from a teacher-dominated classroom to a student-regulated one, Jenn found herself helping colleagues who wanted to follow her lead.  In 2018 she decided to expand outside of her school walls and help those out there who were also trying to figure out this fantastic method of instruction.  She realized that, even though there was a ton of information out there about why student-centered learning is beneficial in the classroom, there wasn't a lot about how to go about making the transition to this method; thus Student-Centered World was born.

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