Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Smile, People will wonder what you're up to

Well, that's not exactly what this post is about, but it IS about smiling!

I remember the first few months at my last school....

The school I worked at before this one had sucked the life out of me.
The town was in the middle of nowhere and was NOT a nice place for a single person to live. There was next to nothing to do and on my measly teacher's salary, driving 2 hours round trip just to go to a movie didn't seem like the smartest move in the world.

And on top of that.... I was constantly thinking, "Geez. Just because I WORK in a high school doesn't mean the staff need to ACT like high schoolers!" The CLIQUES at this school were unbelievable. Eesh!
And then there was the head of my department. Who was volatile on the best of days. I was constantly tip-toeing around her hoping and praying that just asking a simple question wouldn't set her off!

All of this (plus a few other things!) made the decision to search for a new job an easy decision.

And I landed in a school in a beautiful town on the North Shore of Lake Superior, just an hour from "home;" where I grew up! Fantastic!

My new students were fun, friendly and engaged in learning! I was shocked at how FRIENDLY everyone was! I was being invited to outings with other teachers, there were plenty of things to do in the area, plus it is a BEAUTIFUL area-- voted the #1 place to live in Minnesota by Minnesota Monthly magazine! My students were always asking me to come and watch them play in their basketball, hockey, volleball games, choir concerts, band concerts, etc!!
I was SO HAPPY in my new job!!

I mentioned this one day to the Dean of Students. I told him that I couldn't believe how NICE everyone was here. I told him that at my last school students don't even look teachers in the eye when they're walking down the hallway, and here, my goodness, the students were saying "Good morning!!" and... *gasp! SMILING at me!!

His response totally shocked me and made me really think. It was an "Ah ha!" moment!

He said, "Sarah, I don't think it's entirely THEM. I think it's YOU too." He said that it was definitely a combination of me FINALLY being happy with where I was teaching and that I was just exuding positive energy because I was SO content!

Oh my goodness. What an "Ah ha!" revelation!
He was right.
When we have a positive attitude, it can change EVERYTHING about our day.
Everything about our work environment.
And when we have a positive attitude, it's catchy!
Think about it...

Let's say that on a happiness scale of 1-100, you're feeling at about 30.
And you get to work and you see one of your favorite colleagues. You smile. Immediately your happiness meter goes up to 50. You chit chat for a few minutes and it's a good chat. You're now at 60.
YOU'RE smiling now!
You smile at the next person you see and you say a cheerful "Good morning!"
You are at 65 now, and THEY are a bit higher on the happiness scale too!

You walk into the office and say "Good morning!" to the office staff, who smile back at you, and give you a greeting in return. Your happiness meter just nudged up a bit. You're at 70.

On the way to your classroom, you smile and greet students as you juggle your coffee and correcting from last night. A student offers to hold your coffee and books for you as you unlock your door.
85

You get in the room, your safe haven, you'are already at 90.
You open your email and some goof on your email list has emailed a silly picture to you that makes you laugh out loud!
95.

Wow. Look at that, students are filing into class and you're ready to start for the day!
You say "Buenos Dias Clase!!" and they say "Buenos Dias!!" back!
100

A perfect 100.
It's so easy to be happy! :)

It just starts with a smile.

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