You Are Who You’re Neighbors With

garlicPeople’s attitudes are infectious. In an office, if the person on the other side of the inch-thick cubicle wall spends his days eating garlic pizza and clipping his fingernails obsessively, you must either be a garlic and personal hygiene lover too, or suffer a gruesome fate. The same can certainly be said of the school environment. If you work with a team that thrives on each others’ creativity, joy, and strong work ethic, you will also find yourself being more creative, more joyful, and working harder.

Think of the Teacher Workday, the In-Service Day—whatever you want to call those half days when your students go home early and you stay late, you know, to get work done. Sometimes these days even get labeled accurately as Teacher Planning Days (although those are few and far between, as I recall). If your colleagues are chomping at the bit to engage in the workshops and objectives laid out by the principal, staff, and district, then you, too, will find yourself revved-up and ready. If, on the other hand, the other members of your teacher team spend their free time grousing about having to “spend a beautiful fall day stuck in the cafeteria working on the disaster preparedness plan,” then you’re sure to find yourself grousing too.

Been there, done that. The good times and the bad. The joy and misery was spread out and exchanged by the entire staff over the years so that no one teacher was consistently the spoiled cabbage in the crisper drawer. Take me, for instance. Some days, I could be the perfect example of a person who sees only sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns. Other days, I had the gumption to kick Oscar out of his garbage can and one-up his grouchiness.

How do you deal with your colleagues’ ups and downs? Got a good Teacher In-Service story to share? Become a commenter here at the Upper Grades Exchange.

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