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Pushing the Edge

How to Stay True to Yourself: Staying Passionate and Positive with ‘That Class!!’

stay-true-to-yourself

It’s the night before THAT class. I’m restless. I have that sinking feeling.

Positivity where are you now when I need you?

How To Stay True to Yourself

Image: SleepyDemon – mesbahuk

I toss and turn, replaying the scenes from weeks past, then freak out as I glance at the time, only a few hours till I have to get up.

As I walk towards class the next day, I feel myself tense, tighten inward. I feel a bit sick.

Why do I do it? Why am I here? What’s wrong with me? I’m wasted here. I’m not appreciated.
 
How do I stay true to Me – How do I stay true to my Strengths and Passions with this class?
It’s a challenging class and we’re not quite connecting. You’ve been here too, right,  or at least know colleagues who have.
  • What steps did you take to move forward?
  • How did you get back your positivity? How did you maintain it?
  • How did you change how you engaged with the class?
  • How did you stay true to yourself – to your Strengths and Passions – when facing a wall of resistance?
  • Please share your experiences in the comments box below

For me, I had to consciously change my state, the way I was thinking and feeling, before entering the class.

Here’s how I did it.

To start with, I recalled my prior moments of positivity.  My moments of connecting, of affecting change, of making a real difference in the classroom. Even just a few moments of happy memories helped to dissipate some of my tension and lift my spirit.

Still, there was still that class to face. Here I set my Intention:

I will give more emphasis to positivity. Whenever a positive, forward focused, comment or question is made, or when someone behaves in a positive manner:

Image: el rolio

Image: el rolio

  • I will affirm the positivity and give more time or space to it;
  • I will support the student, asking them to provide more detail, to elaborate further;
  • I will ask other students to build on what’s said, and provide scaffolding to enable them to do so (through the use of sentence frames, for example).

 This STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF technique aims to Expand the Space for positivity as well as strength-focused ideas and strategies

  • It turns up their volume and amplifies them.
  • It affirms and validates these ideas and practices for use in this class. In so doing, it sets the tone for the present and the future – if the approach is maintained.
  • And should a negative or limited thought be expressed, we acknowledge it, showing that we’ve understood their core message. Where appropriate we may need to refer to School Policies. We then move back to more positive ground.
  • Should students seek to take us in an opposing direction, we re-direct back to the more positive, expansive focus.
For students unaccustomed to having the spotlight shone on their strengths, or a focus on positivity, it can take time to get used to the practice.
  • Some students may be more used to gaining attention for more limiting or negative behaviours;
  • Some students may see themselves as ‘less than’, incapable, or unskilled – or be positioned as such by their peers.

If I can offer a piece or two of advice here: Stay True to Yourself and Persist, Persist, Persist with your Positivity Bent

Image: MartaZ*

Image: MartaZ*

In one of my classes, it took until week 8 till it completely clicked: When I could finally say – we’re REALLY connecting – in a positive sense. We’re not drowning in sarcasm, bitterness, resignation, and disengagement.

I had nearly given up, thinking all my positivity (along with the positivity of some sparks within the class) was for naught.

Each week I’d despair, ‘what’s the use? It’s not working.’ I actually thought I couldn’t truly be me in this class.

I have to admit though it wasn’t all negativity. There were small slivers of hope along the way: a comment here or there, a smirk, a ‘thanks for the class Greg’ remark.

I basked in these small moments to keep me going till…

ONE DAY…..

I’m not sure why something CLICKED.  My ideas seemed to cut-through, students made links with previous classes, students revealed more of themselves, they laughed far more often, and commented favourably on the class. They even said goodbye to me after each class.

The tone, the feeling was totally different.

I remember thinking: Something’s changed here – big time. I could literally pin-point the moment it happened – it was so tangible, so noticeable.

We never ever looked back from this point.

2 comments… add one
  • Christine

    Totally remember the class I had like this. Actually did a cool music lesson one day (creative writing around classical music) and was asked, mid-focus; ‘what is the point of this?’
    Deep, deep breaths which end in a smile before class. The realisation that it is not the be-all and end-all; they are equally as human as you and you as them. Remind them of this, softly, openly. Create a feeling of trust where your needs are met as a teacher while their needs and wants as students are being met. Show them that their voice matters and the effect it can have on the learning environment. Find their buttons and turn ’em in every way possible until they ‘click’ into place. It’ll come, trust you, trust your abilities and trust your class.

    Reply
    • Greg Curran

      Cheers Christine. Yes those deep, deep breaths have helped me a few times as well. Voice, ah yes, that’s critical isn’t it. Finding ways to create resonance is indeed a two-way street.

      Reply

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