Monday, November 16, 2009

Gratitude and the Positive Teacher: How to See the Silver Lining on a Tough Day

Regular readers of this blog will know that I often talk about "being positive" and that teachers who move to London to teach and keep that positive attitude strong do exceptionally well in our schools.  They love inner city teaching and can see every silver lining presented to them.

So what am I on about?

Today, Siobhan Curious over at Classroom as Microcosm sheds some light on gratitude and the positive thinking teacher.  She points out all the reasons she's grateful today, even though she could have woken up to think, "I have a nasty cold. I'm too busy. This one student is driving me nuts!"  Instead, she looks to all the reasons she's grateful and switches that Monday Morning Blues to a "YES! I CAN!" attitude.  This is the sign of a great teacher.

What I really appreciate about Siobhan's post is that she brings up the issue of that one naughty student.  One student can feel like the whole class if you don't keep it in perspective. I know, I've been there and done that many times in my own teaching in London schools.

In fact, I still do it with Classroom Canada.  This week, I asked for feedback from our teachers in London about how our Professional Development Week went. I wanted their honest feedback, and I got it. 

95% of the teachers who replied absolutely loved the week.  The teachers that attended every session, even though they were tired from teaching during the days, said they loved it.  They loved the Run with Richard, the PD workshops with Sophie Walker, the Bloggers Bash and the Scavenger Hunt.  Those that could only attend one session loved it and regretted not attending the others.

But then there's that one person who says "Well, I didn't like it at all!"

And who do I turn my attention to?  That one person. Of course I do!

So, I did some reflecting. I did some research. I looked inside my heart of hearts, and realized...negative feedback is a good thing.  I need it, I asked for it, and I can make changes because of it.  But it is just one person's opinion, and each opinion deserves to be heard including the others who loved it.  So am I listening? 

Are you?  When you look out at a classroom of students, do you see the students who are doing exactly what you asked?  Do you see the students desperate to learn? To listen? To engage?  Or do you just see the one that's driving you nuts?  Or the two?  Or three...

If you would like to become one of our outstanding teachers or teaching assistants in London, just apply through our website. Also, be sure to read the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians. Sign up for our newsletters and help spread the word to your friends and colleagues.


  1. I'm so glad that post meant something to you! And I'm glad you gave us your experience in this area too. I need to remind myself more often that the difficulties we encounter are in fact the things that help us change and grow and become better people and teachers. Thanks for reading, and for responding in such inspiring detail!

  2. Siobhan, one day you and I are going to sit down over a meal, a glass of wine and a big fat chocolate cheesecake. I just know it!

    As always, thanks so much.


Thanks for sharing your two pence!


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