Educators across the country have arrived to school for another year or will report to duty in the next week. I am entering my sixteenth year in education and could not be more excited. There is nothing like the beginning of the school year. Students arrive with new clothes, fresh haircuts, and enthusiastic smiles. Teachers begin with clean slates, an undefeated record, and are ready to make a difference. Hallway floors sparkle with freshly applied wax, football fields are filled with athletes, and band members work tirelessly on their routines. The feelings I get from seeing these things each year is just the best. As we gear up to tackle another school year, I have a few simple thoughts that I feel will contribute to success.
You are going to be pushed this year. Period. Dysregulated students, upset parents, challenging colleagues and work overload are inevitable. When faced with a challenge, you have a choice. You can see it as a threat or an opportunity. This is simple language, but extremely powerful. The colleague that questions your thinking can be seen as a threat or an opportunity to see a different perspective. The student demonstrating challenging behaviors can be viewed as blatant disrespect or a chance to learn more about what's behind the challenges while enhancing the connection with the student.
I have come to the realization after listening extensively to Tim and Brian Kight on the Focus 3 Podcast that there is a simple formula to assist with this process (E + R = O). E represents events in our life, R is our response, and the outcome is characterized by O. From this formula, we only have ability to control only one factor: our response. So many times, our focus is on the outcome and when we don't like the it, we blame the event. When, in reality, the only thing that is going to produce a better outcome is a better response.
I don't want to oversimplify things and make it sound too easy; however, we must focus on what we can control. We are going to be faced with high stress situations that challenge us physically, mentally, and emotionally this year. Better responses grounded in better behavior will produce better results.