I will not sink.
- I will participate in positive, professional dialogue.
- I will not seek a platform for attention based on negativity or mudslinging.
- I will avoid listening to gossip about others, and I will not repeat it if I hear it, nor will I give credence to it.
- I will attempt to turn negative conversations to other topics by injecting a positive insight or suggesting a new topic of conversation.
- I will walk away from conversations if I cannot participate conscientiously in them and if I cannot effect change.
- I will seek to find the positive in all situations and people.
- I will seek conversations and relationships that will focus on growth and positive situations.
- I will not hide my struggles, but I will address them with honesty and humility, and I will not use my struggles as occasions to harm others.
I will not sink.
Why is it so much easier to talk about negative things? Why are we attracted to the negative: criticism, complaining, gossip? I think it makes us feel better about ourselves, or superior to others, and we like that.
Why do conversations focus on negative items far more often than positive ones? A young teacher and I were talking. I told her that we had a great job and that we had a lot of good students. She stopped me there and told me that she doesn’t hear this anywhere else. Her colleagues were always negative, always critical, always focused on the down side.
Isn’t that a sad statement?
I have been drawn to Twitter as a great source of professional development and encouragement. I have made clear boundaries for myself. I will not participate in negative or critical discussions. I will be honest about my struggles as a teacher, in order to grow and help others grow, but I will not be negative or argumentative. I will not sink. If people I follow begin to Tweet negative, critical comments, become argumentative, or advocate base discussion, behavior or language, I “unfollow” them. I will not sink.
When I was student teaching my cooperating teacher told me, “Stay away from the faculty room”. I didn’t know what he meant. Then we went down for lunch a few days. The teachers gathered there chose to spend thirty minutes criticizing their spouses, their children, their colleagues, their administrators, and their students. I left depressed. Is this how it always is? No, sometimes I could hear gossip. <Disclaimer: not ALL faculty rooms are like this, and not ALL teachers in faculty rooms are like this--I am generalizing--using an example with which many people can relate.>