For one of the supervisor’s classes as part of my Master’s program, I had a great professor. She was a former Superintendent of Schools who had moved up the ranks within her district from Teacher to Assistant Principal to Principal to Assistant Superintendent to Superintendent. She was always a wealth of information and anecdotes about what being an administrator really entails. One piece of advice she gave all of us was this:
No matter how your day is going, if anyone asks you how you are doing, you say ‘I’m fantastic. How are you?’ And you mean it!
She went on to explain that everyone in a school is busy. Everyone has things that happen to us during the day that causes us stress. When you are a supervisor, and you tell people that you are stressed or the job is hard that day, you are sending two messages: you can’t handle the tasks that are assigned to you and/or your problems are more important than theirs.
I have realized several things over the years when I think back to this class. First, in reality, no one really wants to hear about your problems. They have problems of their own and their problems need to be the most important ones. We have a tendency to try and one-up another person in the misery department and there should never be a contest in misery. This one-up-manship is usually why you won’t find me in the teacher’s cafeteria because that is the one room you can guarantee that the misery machine is running full tilt. Second, every time I say ‘I’m Fantastic’, subconsciously, I start to feel it. My posture improves to look the person in the eye. I even smile. My whole outlook on my day improves every time I say it. And third, when I am feeling fantastic and enthusiastic, those feelings start to spread to those around me. No matter who bad your day is, you always feel better when you are around others who are enjoying themselves.
Being an educator in today’s world is really hard. We need to do whatever little things we can to improve it for ourselves.