Noticing and sharing our wins

I had some wonderful days at school this week. They came at just the right time after a couple of very challenging weeks with my class. Having these positive experiences absolutely makes me a better colleague around my peers and a better teacher and carer for my students. These awesome days still had their trying times throughout, but at the end of the day it was the small wins that had me still smiling and feeling positive for what tomorrow would bring.

When the challenges of a day far outweigh the positives you experience, it is easy to ignore or in fact, not really notice them at all. It’s easy to succumb to feelings of frustration and deflation. In such complex environments, this can be common practice, particularly when you hold high expectations for yourself.

One night earlier this week, I came across this blog post, 9 habits of super positive people by @marcandangel. I highly recommend you have a look.

They start by saying that “life is full of positive experiences. Notice them”. I think that noticing requires sustained effort to be aware of and reflective about what you are experiencing. Often in our hectic daily lives as teachers, noticing the positive experiences in a crazy day when you are facing significant ongoing challenges is difficult. Sometimes it is easier to walk into the staff room at the end of the day and say “gee that was a hard day, guess what happened…” and if this is a common thread across your school, much time can be spent debriefing on the negative experiences of the day. While having the space and support to do this is very important for our wellbeing, I think we need to be sharing our wins for the day equally if not more so.

No matter how small they are, we must notice and share what went well, what made us smile, what made our students smile, what we felt proud of or what our students showed pride in that day. Articulating these wins fills our space with positivity – it puts them out there for others to smile at and delight in. It shares with your peers what is possible and what could happen tomorrow. It reminds us of why we are here and reignites our passion and commitment to build on these successes the following day. Instead of leaving school that day with burdened shoulders, we can leave with hope for a positive tomorrow because these wins exist and they will happen again. Indeed, it will make habit number 1 that much easier ~ wake up every morning with the idea that something wonderful is possible today.

I loved reading Kathryn Trask‘s post ‘Savouring the Small Moments’ where she shares the experiences that week which warmed her heart. What a wonderful way to celebrate the positive moments from the week.

Our staff room now has a space to share our wins. It has been lovely seeing staff sharing and celebrating with each other.

 

Sharing the positives

 

Are you noticing the positive experiences that fill your day? How are you sharing them?

Importantly, how are your students sharing their successes?

I’d love to hear from you.

10 thoughts on “Noticing and sharing our wins

  1. Hi Jessica,

    I agree about the importance of acknowledging the positives regularly, however small they may be. The alternative mindset – complaining about things we are not happy with – brings everybody down and is generally not constructive.
    I really like how you’ve made these positive acknowledgements ‘social’, via the staffroom space – do people just write their own personal positives, or can you write them for other people..? Positive feedback from others is a great motivator…

    Thanks,
    Warwick

    • Thanks for your thoughts Warwick. So far people have just shared their own personal wins. I love the idea of sharing what we notice others are achieving. The more we can do to support each other the better. I think making these achievements visible is important because often people are reserved to talk about their own successes! Thanks for sharing your idea, will share with staff tomorrow and begin.
      Kind Regards,
      Jessica

    • I love this Miles! Thank you for sharing. I haven’t heard of it until now. This is exactly what our profession needs to do more of. Appreciate your thoughts and comments as always.
      Cheers,
      Jessica

  2. Hi Jessica
    I can only agree with the ideas that you express with such clarity in this post. I’ve been teaching for 30 years now and have learned two things …

    The small wins most often come along when you least expect them and from unexpected sources.
    It’s those wins that teachers are addicted to … that keeps us coming back year after year.

    OMG … getting all philosophical. Keep blogging and I’ll keep reading whenever I can. I have also started a new blog (my sixth!) which is also on edublogs at
    http://theconnectedteacher.edublogs.org
    Please have a look if you’re so inclined.
    Simon

    • Hi Simon,

      I appreciate you sharing your wisdom after 30 years in Education! Thank you for stopping by and also sharing the link to your blog.
      I saw a quote today which supports your idea that the small wins are often unexpected:
      ‘Remember that life’s most treasured and inspired moments often come unannounced’ – Anonymous
      Thanks again,
      Jessica

  3. I try to live by the same idea and manage to leave school smiling most nights! A perfectly timed post in the midst of exams, students graduating and end of year programs that can all be stressful or rewarding depending on the spin you put on things!

    • Thank you for your comment. This time of year is always so busy, I agree. A optimistic outlook and a positive presence will help this time pass more smoothly for our students and our colleagues. You’re right in that we have a choice over how we react to what is happening around us or to us – we can ‘choose our attitude’ and I think making the effort to notice the positives helps us through these trying times.
      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts,
      Kind Regards,
      Jessica

  4. Hello Jessica, i come via twitter where you have just started to follow me. I now arrive at your blog. We certainly teach in very different places! Very different kids, but for me education is about everyone involved feeling safe, being happy, becoming engaged and making progress. I have a little school blog http://www.hawesps.posterous.com and a new and even smaller bog about blowing bubbles http://www.wowbubbles.posterous.com, how I would love to try bubbling in your landscape! Well done for starting your own blog, it’s good to see young teachers with a burning desire to teach well.

    Mr E
    Hawes
    North Yorks
    Eng

  5. Really enjoyed reading this Jess. I’ve heard this so many times (about celebrating the wins) but I don’t think I ever really do. It’s always the negative things and new and overwhelming challenges that overcrowd my head space as I walk home from school everyday. But after reading this blog I’m reflecting on the week that has been and I feel so much better about it now that I am shinning a light on all the little wins throughout. This is such an important habit to get into especially in a context like ours. Perhaps we should be including this as an agenda item at staff meetings – “What are your recent wins?”.

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