Surfacing from the deep dark days

The year began.  It was not what any of us expected.  The departmentalization was/is overwhelming (switching between two grade levels and the number of reading groups is laughable).  The students arrived many having had a not so pleasant summer, many new to the school and the culture of learning we had worked to hard to develop.  We were and are struggling just to get students in seats, school appropriate language, and respect for all.

In the dark of these first few weeks I thought again about reflection and what we learn from it.  So I was reflecting each night with anyone one who would listen to me reflect.  Well, really rant.  I was hunting for solutions but could only recount what was not working.  The negative actions and sounds of the day were ringing so loud it was all I could hear.

Then last week my husband and writer sent me a short e-mail that just said watch this.  It is worth a few minutes of your time.  He was so right.   The short video link was on the power of journaling.  Not just any journaling but spending a few minutes each day writing what went right, what worked today.   Such a powerful thing to do.

To take time to stop the negative talk, to look at what is going right, to follow it over time – day by day.  It was pretty clear right away that if I wrote down what was working daily I coulc see the small, little steps towards change that often gets lost in the noise of chaos and frustration.

Try it!   Even if things are not frustrating choose a project you are working on or just write each night what went well today.   I think you will find new ideas, thoughts and see progress you might not have expected.

I have only just begun my journey up from the dark but it has help me see above the negative and find what my students are really doing well and sharing it with them each day.    Yes! to the positive side of journaling.

Enjoy a quick view:  http://99u.com/videos/7221/Teresa-Amabile-Track-Your-Small-Wins-to-Motivate-Big-Accomplishments

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About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
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3 Responses to Surfacing from the deep dark days

  1. Ramona says:

    I want to watch the video, but must save it for another time. Curriculum night is this week. Thanks for your words about the positive side of journaling!

  2. onesunflower says:

    I am glad a speaker is out there touting daily writing. While I don’t write daily, I definitely feel that this blogging bug has kept a positive head on my shoulders and helps me see that indeed, I – and my colleagues – are making progress in a daunting profession.

  3. Terje says:

    Thank you for this post. I watched the video. My way of celebrating the small wins has been talking to the parents when they come to pick up the kids. Even when the day has almost bought me to the verge of tears, I think of the small good moments and share with the parents. I can see how writing them down would help me see the bigger picture. One of the reasons why I didn’t write daily was the fear of pouring my frustration on the paper. Like your husband’s e-mail your post helped me to shift the perspective.

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