They say it takes 40 days of practice to make something a habit: flossing teeth, wearing sunscreen, making your bed each morning.
You know what’s also worth practicing? Keeping ourselves positive and forward-looking at school.
There are many ways to attack this and we know our users have unique experiences. (We hope you’ll share some of your positivity-building strategies in the comments or via social.) We’re building our positivity habit by switching out some items from our vocabulary.
We’re starting with three words/phrases to cut down on in favor of words that will keep us on a more positive (and empowered) path.
Stop “trying” and start doing
A Yoda classic: there is no try.
If you’ve ever made yourself mindful of how often you say “try” instead of “will” or “do,” it can be eye-opening. By forcing ourselves to speak and think in a way that affirms we can and will do something - that we have the ability to make things happen - we support our positivity habit. And remind ourselves that we’re awesome.
Instead of “I wish” use “I will”
You’ve got classroom goals. And you’re going to crush those goals even faster when you trade “I wish I could start that new digital literacy program with my students” for “I will start that new digital literacy program with my students.”
You can. You will. Speak it. Think it. Know it. Do it.
Say goodbye to “Just” and “Sorry” when you email your colleagues
There’s problem with “just wanting to know” and being “sorry for asking.” It completely undermines us. These phrases imply that we are apologetic - perhaps even defensive - for attempting to get things done and move ideas forward at school. (Gwyneth Paltrow spoke of this!)
"These phrases imply that we are apologetic - perhaps even defensive - for attempting to get things done and move ideas forward at school."
Monitoring how often we needlessly apologize is all about personal positivity. It’s possible to be a responsive, attentive, accommodating colleague without apologizing for asking a question at a faculty meeting or telling your tech director you’re sorry for needing extra attention as you learn your school’s latest teach addition.
It’s also possible to be a supportive, nurturing educator without justifying to your students that you “just wanted to give them a little extra practice” or “you’re just trying to prepare them for the SATs.”
Bonus round - there is actually a Chrome extension that will help you limit how often you say “just” and “sorry” in emails. If you’ve made it a bad habit to apologize to every inch of the faculty lounge, perhaps it’s not the worst idea to download and test out.