What gets you out of bed every morning ready to tackle the day?
Is it that beautiful sunrise as you awaken? Perhaps it’s that drive-thru frothy cappuccino you grab at early O’clock on the way to your classroom. Call it prayer, reflection or meditation, making time for this to set your attitude on gratitude may make Monday meaningful and the rest of the week positively progressing towards an attitude set on what is good in this world.
As you face the beginning of the week, yes, I mean MONDAY, most of your colleagues have the, “Oh it’s Monday. How many more days till Friday?”-mentality.
What can make you different?
Your Monday morning mindset should be looking forward to the lives you get to reach and influence starting on Monday morning and through the week. Can you have this mindset? The only way to experience this way of thinking is to change your thinking to find the gratitude in each moment of the day. It does not come naturally especially in an environment filled with opportunity to complain or gossip.
So practically speaking what might this look like?
- Start your day early and arrive to your classroom when it is still empty. Take a moment to reflect on what is good. What are you thankful for? If something is making you cringe, how can you look at it differently? Write it down and look at it with a new lens: An opportunity lens vs. a problem lens. Maybe this “challenge” was given to you to teach you something about yourself to sharpen you or soften you.
- Protect your thought life. This means you might have to avoid situations which could potentially be an opening to complain. The teacher’s lounge is fertile ground to let those thoughts become words thus giving them life. Instead, replace that negative thought with again that positive lens. Don’t give that negative thought a breath.
- Be careful where you sit. Is there a group of colleagues who seem to love to vent? They usually like to congregate together. Make an effort to smile and be kind but then find a new seat and start a conversation with someone sitting alone. Ask that person about a positive event in the day; you’re making a new friend.
- Finally, if you are feeling down because of a student situation or a school issue, don’t rush over to your neighbor sharing the latest, “Can you believe!??” Instead, knock on another’s door and ask if they need help with something. Maybe you know of a new teacher or someone else who is having a rough go, and ask if they need copies made since you were going to make copies anyway. Get out of yourself and focus on another. It does wonders when we feel a bit deflated.
Better yet, go chat with a student who is having a rough day, and make that person feel better. It’s fodder for pursuing an attitude of gratitude.
All in all, you can make a difference one day at a time by first finding the gratitude in your day, and it can all start with a Monday Morning Mindset.
Dr. Stephanie Knight is an experienced 7th and 8th grade English language arts educator. She taught in Title One schools for eight years—helping them grow from underperforming to excelling—and then in an independent school for four years. Knight is now is part of Grand Canyon University’s adjunct faculty where she teaches graduate level education and reading courses.