The one thing standing in your way of creating the class you’ve always wanted is believing that you can.
With no shortage of teachers willing to tell you why you can’t—and how naive you are to think otherwise—this is no easy task.
There are also dozens of justifications and excuses right at your fingertips, just waiting for you to pull out whenever you’re feeling discouraged.
The parents don’t care.
My classroom is overcrowded.
There is no support from administration.
I have a challenging class this year.
My students are noisy and won’t listen to me.
I have too many difficult students.
And on and on…
The truth is, no matter where you teach or what your circumstances are, you can have what you want. You can create your dream class. Everything you need, every proven strategy, technique, and solution is right here on this website—with more to come.
But if you don’t believe deep down in your heart that you can, if you don’t think it’s possible for you, then you never will.
What follows is a practical way to put all the doubts to rest and start believing in YOU.
Create a vision.
Think of your ideal class. What would it look like? What would it sound like? How would the students behave? How would they respond to you and interact with you? What would you look like teaching this class? Calm, confident, commanding respect, in complete control?
Now close your eyes and see yourself in this role. See yourself loving your job, enjoying and inspiring your students, and having the most rewarding experience you can possibly have. This exercise may seem silly, but it is remarkably powerful.
You must first visualize your goal before in can become a reality. Keep a sharp image of your perfect class in your mind’s eye and review it daily—both before and after school. Refuse to let it go until you see it manifesting before you.
Eliminate excuses and negative thoughts.
It’s so terribly easy to entertain thoughts of defeat, so easy to wallow in commiseration with colleagues who are all too ready to offer up more excuses than you could ever think of on your own. Indulging in failures and disappointments and conjuring up justifications is as effortless as slipping into a warm bath.
But getting down on yourself is devastating to your dreams of becoming the teacher you really want to be, making the chances of actualizing them next to impossible. When negative thoughts and excuses pop into your head, cancel them out with positive affirmations.
Repeat to yourself, “I can do this!” Then get busy doing it.
Hang out with like-minded teachers.
The staff lounge is a dangerous place. The old adage that you should avoid it is spot on. Unless, that is, your lunch companions are like you and refuse to engage in negative talk. You and I both know, however, that this is exceedingly rare.
Either seek out those on campus who have a cheery, positive outlook on teaching or eat lunch alone in your classroom. When staff members do corner you, and they will, let their venting go in one ear and out the other.
And stay far away from those who bad-mouth, gossip, or criticize students. They will suck the life out of you—just as they do their students.
Choose to like your students.
How you feel about your students is a choice you make that deeply affects your ability to manage your classroom. And if you choose not to like them, or if you allow yourself to become annoyed by them, they’ll know it. It’s something you can’t hide. Negative thoughts about students always bubble to the surface.
To create the rewarding and successful teaching experience you really want, you have to see the best in your students. You have to choose to like them, get a kick out of them, and enjoy being around them.
Having a positive relationship with your students is the difference-maker that gives you powerful leverage to influence their behavior.
Better Than Imagined
Changing your thinking isn’t some silly self-help new-ageism. Our thoughts always go first, leading us wherever we direct them. To a large degree, they determine our success or failure.
By disciplining them, by refusing to indulge in negative, self-defeating thinking, you can make the dreams you have for yourself and your classroom a reality.
We didn’t get into teaching to snivel about students, complain with colleagues, or gin up excuses for ourselves.
We got in it to make a difference.
Decide right now to start believing in you and in that wonderful image you have of your ideal class. See yourself confidently and lovingly inspiring your students to become more than they thought they could.
Never let it go.
With this vision, and the strategies on this website, I promise you’ll get there.
And it will be even better than you imagined.
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