This is the Worst Day EVER! and Other Exaggerations

This is the Worst Day EVER! and Other Exaggerations

Which problem seems more solvable to you?

I cannot believe that parent. I have NEVER been treated so horribly. This is the worst day ever. What a huge mess!


I can tell that parent was upset. I wonder what triggered that? 

A mentor once told me that using emotion-filled words are not helpful, in fact they are hurtful to problem-solving and relationships. Since hearing that, I have recognized that using emotion-filled words can be a roadblock to problem solving for me.

When we use words like never, worst, horribly, huge, always our problems can seem bigger than they are, they can seem insurmountable. When we focus on the facts of the situation and remove the emotional language, problems seem much more manageable.

Our choice of words has an affect on those around us. We can be a breath of fresh air and energize others, or we can be negative and emotional and bring others down with us. Let’s not deny that bad things happen, or that we can have a bad day. Emotional words exist in our language for a reason. Let’s just not use them often or inappropriately, for our own benefit and for the benefit of others.

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.                                                                                                        -Dalai Lama


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Is the honeymoon over?

Is the honeymoon over?

The honeymoon is over, eh?

Now that we have several weeks of the new school year under our belts, the spit-clean shine on the faces of all those children has faded and reality sets in. At first we thought we were blessed with a class, a school, a district full of little angels. Then the cracks began to show through–a little disrespectful look, then a “NO!”, and then running out of the classroom when they are upset. Oh no! And we had such high hopes!

I am pretty proficient at assuming positive intent with adults. I can easily see how hard the adults at school work for the students, and I know the difficulties of being a parent. Do we afford our students the same luxury? Do we assume positive intent with students?

In my nearly two decades of being an educator, I cannot remember meeting a student who was naughty to be naughty. The students I work with are behaving for a purpose. They want control, they want to feel like they belong, they need freedom, they want to have some fun, or maybe they are just hungry (or is that h-angry?). They want to be good, to be praised, to be loved, they sometimes just don’t know how to get there.

Don’t they deserve us to give them the same benefit of the doubt that we give each other?

Presuming positive intent is one of the pillars of Adaptive Schools.

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They Can Tell…

They Can Tell…

Who are you listening to in the classroom? Who are you focused on? Your students or yourself?

One of the variables in moving from good to great as an educator is this: is your attention on doing things “right”, not getting in trouble, looking like you know what you are doing? Or is your attention on your students’ learning and their character growth?

I learned something that is critical to success during my first year of teaching and again during my early years as a principal. I learned it how I learn most things–the hard way. I learned that they can tell…students know if your focus is on yourself or on them.


You are important, and your needs are too. They are just not the most important needs in the room. I agree with putting on my oxygen mask first, but you better believe that while I am doing that my eyes will send a message to my students that I will be there for them just as soon as I can.

Want to move from good to great? Take care of yourself while making others feel like they are the most important thing to you.

There are two kinds of people in the world, givers and takers. The takers may eat better, but the givers sleep better.                                                             -Marlo Thomas