I am excited to share this guest post by Michelle Gano. In this post, Michelle offers some great advice to help teachers to overcome those feelings of stress and burnout and find more joy in teaching. Check it out!
Teachers are feeling the effects of burnout and counting down the days each week, in between breaks, each year, and even to retirement. We feel worn out and are struggling to find happiness at work due to the high demands of our often thankless profession. We yearn to feel understood, appreciated, and supported rather than constantly questioned by administration, parents, and students.
The book, Look Beyond the Clouds: Transform Your Daily Habits to
Overcome Teacher Burnout and Find Joy in Teaching Again, is the ray of hope you’ve been looking for as this spiraling trend becomes all too common in our schools today. It provides the tools to apply in our lives at home and in our classroom to reach that joy and fulfillment we both deserve and desire.
BE A BLUE BALLOON
Imagine a large garbage bag of twenty blue balloons. Each balloon is filled with helium. Because they are weightless, all of the balloons are moving in the same direction—upward. This is what happens when people are positive and work together toward a common goal. They seek to find solutions to problems. Being supportive and encouraging helps everyone to move upward to reach success.
Now imagine a red balloon filled with water. If that red balloon is placed in the same large garbage bag with the twenty blue balloons, what will happen? You guessed it! The bag will begin to descend rapidly. The weight of that single red balloon will impact all of the other balloons and bring them down. Being competitive, negative, or not being supportive will hinder your ability to meet your goals and will hurt everyone in your proximity.
Picture this concept in your own school and district. Who in your school is a blue balloon? This includes administrators, teachers, other staff members, students, and parents who are positive, supportive, and helpful. Those who greet you in the morning or reach out when you are upset. Those who lift you up.
Who in your school is a red balloon? The people who are negative, complaining, and not supportive. I’m sure they come right to mind. They are quite easy to spot. Those woe-is-me people who spend their time making their life situations sound worse than yours as if it is some competition. Let them have that victory because it probably is far worse with that outlook! Do their negative words and actions bring down the morale of your school? Even the children can easily spot this among their teachers or classmates.
Which balloon are you? Take time to reflect on this. Be honest with yourself. Also identify the people in each category at your school. Once you’ve come up with a list, I encourage you to make a conscious effort of spending more time with the blue balloons. You exhibit similar qualities as the people you spend the most time with.
Therefore, if you spend time with people who are positive, kind, and good listeners, you will start to see those qualities in yourself. If you spend time with red balloons and hear them being Debbie Downers about anything and everything, you will start to think in that way too. Choose wisely. Your life depends on it.
It’s remarkable to see how the perception of your day, the words you choose to use, can change your whole mindset. The question that sparks the dinner conversation in my household is this: “What are three good things that happened to you today?”
Focusing on the three positive moments from your day helps silence the negative. Many times we stress about little things that we make into a bigger deal than they need to be. Yes, it’s important to acknowledge the challenges and talk them out, but I’ve learned (the hard way) that harping on them won’t necessarily make them any better or go away any faster.
Instead, figuring out if there is a solution to the problem or a way to make it even slightly better is all it takes. You can even modify this idea by starting with something stressful then following up with your three things from the day. Always end with the good.
Ultimately, it’s up to you. You have the choice to use positive words that highlight the beauty in each day or negative words that emphasize the bad, stressful moments. When you choose to give power to the negativity, it can take over your mind and cause you to fixate on it. This can cause you to lose sleep at night because your mind is racing as if you’re in the lead of the Daytona 500 NASCAR race.
It can also negatively impact our relationships with others. Who wants to spend time with someone who is always negative? Not me! That, my friend, is no way to live. Instead, think of the phrase (in a singing voice of course), I’ve got the powwwah! Say it loud, say it proud because you do have the power.
Which one will you choose today? Tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Okay, you get my gist.
Be patient with yourself. Change won’t come right away. Changing your mindset is like developing a new habit. It takes time and consistent effort. Continue to focus on the good each day to help get you there sooner. Acknowledge other people’s concerns—students, colleagues, family, and friends—sympathize with them, understand their perspective, then challenge yourself to find the good in the situation. I wouldn’t recommend you suppress the negative. Instead, acknowledge it and refocus on the positive. This will help you stay on the path to attaining positive energy in your classroom and at home.
By no means am I saying it’ll be only rainbows and butterflies every day. There will be difficult situations and challenging days that shake you to your core. There is good in every day. We just need to open our eyes to it and recognize those positive, magical moments. In these moments of recognition, you are well on your way to attaining a more positive outlook, so you can move upwards like the blue balloon teacher you strive to be.
CONNECT WITH MICHELLE:
Book on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RRJ6G9T
Website – www.lookbeyondtheclouds.com
Instagram – @lookbeyondthecloudscommunity
Facebook – Look Beyond the Clouds Community (closed group)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Michelle Gano is a teacher, wife, mother, author, and motivational speaker for teachers. She is determined to bring awareness to the issues teachers face and hopes to help all teachers feel understood, supported, and appreciated for the superhumans they are. She has dedicated her life to helping people see the good in the world. Through her example, she inspires others to navigate and overcome challenges with positivity, gratitude, and a strong foundation of self-love.