- It can be challenging to remain positive after such a difficult year.
- Even if you didn’t meet your goals, you still made an impact.
- Show gratitude and appreciation for others.
- Make sure you are checking your mindset. Find ways to bring your best self into the classroom.
- Keep going. There is no finish line. What can you do to continue to increase your altitude?
- Take care of yourself and recognize all that you have accomplished.
Motivation, Mindset, and Momentum
Motivation! Mindset! Momentum! After completing one of the most difficult years that I have had to date, I’ll admit I’m drained, exhausted, and just plain TIRED! To put it simply, I’m not MOTIVATED to do anything. All I really want to do is lay on my couch, pull the covers over my head, and sleep. My body is signaling that it needs rest. I can’t seem to focus or concentrate on anything of importance. It seems that I am at that crossroad that I wrote about two years ago.
We are in this TOGETHER!
As you can see, this month’s Better Mindset blog is being written for me as much as it is for you. The focus: How do you remain positive and keep moving forward when your end goal did not produce the results you were hoping for? I know that you had high hopes for student outcomes this year. Your students may not have met them all, but they are getting better daily. Even when we don’t achieve every goal we set forth, it is important to remember there are lessons in each one. Our children are watching what we do. No matter the situation. Be the example that shows others that they can overcome any obstacle they encounter too.
What’s your superpower?
I pride myself on being able to do the impossible, make a way when there seems to be none, to sort of “rise from the ashes.” As a matter of fact, I have done this so many times throughout my life that I was given the nickname “Phoenix.” Honestly, over the past couple of weeks, I have been struggling to replenish my resilient superpower, figure out how to turn the tide, and swing my mindset towards positivity. Then out of nowhere, the shift came. You see, I have this friend who sends me positive affirmations a few times each week. I never know when they are coming, but they always seem to appear when I need them the most. Today’s message was simple…it read, every day is a chance to start anew.
As you prepare to rest, recalibrate, and prepare for the next school year, I want to share these three lessons with you. I hope that my story will help you maintain a positive mindset.In order to continue this momentum we have built this past year in regard to student growth and achievement, you must be ALL IN. There can be no doubts. You must BELIEVE in our children and continue to push yourself to the limit. Click To Tweet
Lexico.com defines gratitude as the quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for, and to return kindness. My district Superintendent, Dr. Ray, always tells us to “speak life into our students.” Do you practice gratitude by speaking life into both students and parents? Parents send the best they have to us each day. Students are doing the best they can. If they know you believe in them, they will rise to your expectations. Practice gratitude.
Teaching is the noblest profession. After all, what we do in schools each day lays the foundation for every profession. Where would the world be without educators? Be grateful to have been granted the privilege of leading your classroom and shaping the lives of each student you had as we continue to reimagine education. Each day, I take pictures and capture memorable moments. In the evening, I look at the pictures and post those moments along with my verbal gratitude for students, staff, and parents to watch in the virtual announcements the next day. How can you show gratitude towards others?
Use Mindset Motivators
Your mental attitude or mindset sets the stage for your classroom culture. I’m reminded of a quote by Haim Ginott which says “I’ve come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous.” What is your process for conducting an attitude check? Do you model these checks for students? Have you figured out simple processes or routines that trigger happiness for you? Music motivates me and triggers an automatic equalization of my emotions.
Music Motivates Me
As a teacher, I incorporated music into my classroom routine to ensure my mood was pushed towards positivity throughout the day. One example was what I coined our classroom clean-up song. I told students it was our classroom anthem. I talked students through the words and played the song.
The lyrics told students that each of them was needed to lead, their generation couldn’t afford to wait for someone else to take a stand, the future started yesterday and we are already late getting started. It’s a powerful song by John Legend, entitled “If You’re Out There.” What my students didn’t know was that this song served as my reminder to continue to push and prepare them for the future. Each time I heard it, my mindset shifted towards growing each student and making them better and better. What could you incorporate to shift your mindset and motivate you throughout the day? If your classroom had an anthem, what would it be?
Momentum Brings About Limitless Altitude
As a child, my parents pushed me to believe that I could accomplish any goal I set for myself. They didn’t believe in limits. Anytime they were confronted with a barrier, I watched them fight through it. What limits have you placed on your life? Are those fixed mindset triggers spilling over to bias your beliefs about children?
In order to continue this momentum we have built this past year in regard to student growth and achievement, you must be ALL IN. There can be no doubts. You must BELIEVE in our children and continue to push yourself to the limit and give it all you’ve got.
I know you are exhausted, mentally and physically. We all are! Take whatever time you need this summer to do a reboot.[scroll down to keep reading]
We Are Not Finished YET
We have made tremendous strides over the past 180 school days, but it is not enough. If I had to describe it in one word, it would be “PERSIST.” Our goal should be to keep on gaining momentum. There is no finish line. We should be shooting for infinite altitude. Students should be working to get better, and better, and better. As we redesign what teaching and learning look like as we will inevitably have to pivot as the pandemic rages on, we cannot afford to just maintain our current altitude. Yes, we have made some gains, but our children need more. As my husband, Fred, put it, we must double down on what worked and refine what didn’t. This is the only way we will continue gaining momentum.
Shifting Your Perspective
This month I will end with the quote that helped me shift my perspective. I hope that it reminds you to look back on the life lessons from this past school year. Think back to those moments when you overcame insurmountable obstacles and rebuilt your life setback after setback. Those times when you fought your way back from failure, made a way out when there was no way, and beat the odds. There will be many…after all, we have survived two years of a global pandemic. Wear those badges of honor with pride. Post them on the wall with the caption: when you are at a crossroad, mindset matters most.
Lastly, “There is something uniquely beautiful about a person that grows from his or her struggles and uses the lessons from their experience to spread wisdom.” You are uniquely beautiful. As you continue to rest, rejuvenate, and reinvigorate, remember to keep a pulse on your mindset, motivation, and momentum because it is your gratitude and attitude which will determine your altitude.
About Jami Fowler-White
Jami Fowler-White is the founder and CEO of Digital PD 4 You, LLC and co-creator of the Ignite Leadership Summit. Over the past two decades, she has served in many capacities in education which include ten years as a classroom teacher, ten years as an Instructional Coach, and a Core Advocate with Achieve the Core.
She currently mentors First-time and Renewal candidates for the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards and is a charter member of the National Board Network of Minoritized Educators and Black Women Education Leaders, Incorporated. Additionally, Mrs. Fowler-White is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and is currently serving as a Principal in Shelby County Schools (TN).
Fowler-White also provides professional development under the umbrella of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards and Digital PD 4 You for schools and districts. She is the author/coauthor of several books including, Educator Reflection Tips, Volume #1, EduMatch’s Snapshot in Education 2020: Remote Learning Edition, The Skin You are In: Colorism in the Black Community, 2nd Edition, and Educator Reflection Tips, Volume II: Refining our Practice. Jami blogs at DigitalPD4You.com , has a bi-monthly leadership blog on Insight Advance, and writes a monthly blog entitled the Better Mindset on TeachBetter.com. She invites you to connect with her on Twitter at @JjJj821 and on the Digital PD 4 You Facebook page.