I am constantly amazed at the level of awesomeness that comes out of my PLN on a daily basis. Occasionally, something that seems like a simple idea turns in to something awe-inspiring. At a time when so much negativity is aimed at our profession, Nick Provenzano decided to focus on the good that we as teachers do. His recent blog post, #SchoolDidAGoodThing, describes his idea of having people on Twitter talk about the positive aspects of their own education using the hashtag #SchoolDidAGoodThing.
I wonder if Nick had any idea what his idea would lead to. People talking positively about their education, and sharing some inspirational thoughts in 140 characters or less. Looking through the hashtag stream, not only can you get a sense of why so many of us became teachers, but you can also see quite clearly what an amazing impact we can have on the children in our lives. Even if we don't know it.
How many students have come into our classrooms just needing to be seen by someone? To be recognized as a person of value? A person who has great potential to do good in this world? But if there isn't anyone in their life to see that and point it out to them, what happens to that child?
I begin each school day by greeting my students at the door, looking into their eyes and saying "Good Morning!" What do I see when they look back at me? Do I see the student who aces every test because school is too easy for her? Do I see the student who rarely does his homework? Do I see the student who doesn't always have a lunch because mom and dad are so wrapped up in getting divorced that they've forgotten they still need to take care of their children?
Of course not. What I see when I greet my students each morning are young people who want to be treated as people with tremendous potential. They want to know they are cared for first and foremost. "And, hey, if we can learn some stuff too, that'd be cool."
I'm sorry if I've gotten a bit off track here. But reading through the #SchoolDidAGoodThing hashtag has me thinking about why I became a teacher in the first place. I've been struggling this summer with whether or not I should remain in the classroom. Teaching is an unbelievably hard job, but it is also the most important job I've ever had. I've faced a lot of negativity in the last year or so that has made my job even harder. I wonder what would happen if I focused only on the positive aspects of my job during the next year. How would that impact me as a teacher and as a person? And how will it impact my students?
And that is why Nick's idea is such a valuable one. It has people focused on the positive aspects of our profession.
A week or so before Thanksgiving each year, I have my students start keeping a gratitude journal. Each evening they have to write down three things that they were grateful for from that day. I explain to them that the theory is the more you focus on your gratitude, the more things will come into your life that you can be grateful for.
And so I ask you: 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? Perhaps it seems too simplistic to you. But haven't you ever noticed that sometimes the greatest ideas are truly simple?
If you'd like to see the impact this idea is already having, be sure to read Nick's update, #SchoolDidAGoodThing - Follow Up. And then, if you are on Twitter, add your thoughts on how school was a positive thing for you and use the hashtag #SchoolDidAGoodThing.
Please join us!