Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sometimes A Great Notion Comes Again

In a post I wrote earlier today (Sometimes A Great Notion), I talked about the positive impact something as simple as a Twitter hashtag can have on our profession or, more to the point, on the perception that many seem to have about our profession. The question I asked in that post was "What would happen if we focused less on all of the negativity aimed at teaching and teachers, and, instead, started focusing on the positive aspects of our career?"

After I finished writing that post, I decided it was time to read for a bit. So I plopped myself down on the couch and grabbed my book, The Element by Sir Ken Robinson. After about five minutes, I came upon the following passages:
"What we think of ourselves and of the world makes us who we are and what we can be. This is what Hamlet means when he says, 'There is nothing good or bad, only thinking makes it so.' The good news is that we can always try to think differently. If we create our worldview, we can re-create it too by taking a different perspective and reframing our situation." p. 81
"In the nineteenth century, William James became one of the founding thinkers of modern psychology. By then, it was becoming more widely understood that our ideas and ways of thinking could imprison or liberate us. James put it this way: 'The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitude of mind. ... If you change your mind, you can change your life.'" p. 82
Both of these passages describe how an individual can make positive changes in his life by simply changing his outlook. This may seem too simplistic to you, especially if you're thinking you have to be willing to work harder in order to make changes in your life. While that may be true, I would suggest that before you can make any kind of changes in your life, you have to first believe that change is possible. And that's where, for many of us, a new outlook would be most beneficial.

But what would happen if in changing our perspective we also managed to change the views of many others? What if thinking positively about teaching could change not only us as teachers, but all those who make decisions about us and our profession? I know you may be rolling your eyes at me right now, but, honestly, what have we got to lose? Nothing!

"What have we got to lose?" That's negative thinking. The question really should be: "What have we to gain?"

So, how can you add a more positive outlook to your career? Care to help me figure this out?

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