The young girl screamed across the classroom, "I can’t do this math, I am so stupid." The classroom came to a halt, and every eye in the room was staring at her. In her overwhelmed state, she began to cry. The teacher walked up quietly next to the student to try to help her sort out her feelings. This would be her third school this school year, and the math programs were different at every school she attended. The teacher knew that something needed to happen to help her thrive and not merely survive another math lesson. She knew that positivity had to take precedence, even over math, at this moment in time, so she sat down with her and began to talk things out. For an eight-year-old to move to three new apartments and schools in such a short period of time, her mother passing away a year ago, her father working two jobs, and being the oldest of four children was a lot of stress and negativity on a young child. These problems were much bigger than the math problems in the workbook. The teacher knew that she needed to implement positive solutions quickly. This might sound like a student in your classroom. The effects of adverse circumstances do not stay outside the door when the child comes to school.
The world is filled with negativity, and it runs wild on TV, social media, in our communities, and even in our homes. It is so important that our classrooms are filled with positivity. Simple statements written or said can have an impact on ourselves personally and those around us. I once heard this saying, “Be a fountain, not a drain.” A simple statement with a profound meaning. If you are like me, I am sure you can think of someone who drains your peace, productivity, and energy at a high rate. These are the people we try not to sit by at the staff meeting. When someone encourages me, I enjoy being around them. Negativity drains our energy and makes us feel helpless and hopeless. Whereas positivity puts power in us and gives us clarity and confidence. Negativity brings negative emotions, whereas positivity brings positive emotions.
Our classroom environment impacts our students socially, emotionally, and academically. When I am working with students, I like to create what I call POWER STATEMENTS.
We begin the process by believing in ourselves and cultivating self-confidence. We are all unique and have something different to bring to our classroom communities. This is why it is vital to create I AM Statements. When students are stuck or having a difficult time, reminding them of their personal I AM Statements will take them back into a positive headspace.
I AM Brave
I AM Confident
I AM Smart
I AM Creative
I AM Diligent
It is also important to create POWER STATEMENTS to share with others. These are the statements that build people up, give them purpose, and encourage them.
You ARE Gifted!
You ARE Amazing!
You ARE Important!
You ARE a Leader!
You ARE Diligent!
You ARE Creative!
You Are Confident!
These POWER STATEMENTS can be placed in the hallway or in your classroom. These statements can become a part of classroom culture. It is also important to tell people what you believe. If you tell someone, “You are amazing,” it is also important to follow up the statement with the reasoning.
“You are amazing because you consistently turn in your homework on time.”
“You are creative because you bring new ideas to our morning meetings.”
“You are brave because you are willing to try and solve difficult math problems.”
By giving the reasoning, we make the comment very specific to the student and their action. This is also beneficial when we speak to people at home, in the community, or even a colleague in the hall. Remember, positivity is powerful, and it motivates people to move forward. It is time to DASH UPWARD!