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Thursday, February 02, 2017

Dread versus Enthusiasm

There are events we all dread. These events fill you with worry and frustration. You try to create situations where the dread will be replaced by enthusiasm, but sometimes that's impossible for many reasons. Events we dread are often events that are similar to past, negative events, events that leave you feeling bad and events that don't mirror your beliefs. There are few events in school life that I dread, but there are some.

On the other hand, enthusiasm is what we feel when we approach events that we have say over, events where we feel we belong, and events that mirror our values, interests, and needs. For example, I always anticipate a gathering at a friend's house with enthusiasm. These friends are always welcoming and their home is lovely. It's a real treat to go there. Similarly I am enthusiastic about school events where colleagues and students come together to create, problem solve, and develop. I look forward to this kind of teaching and learning.

As educators we have to create conditions that our students meet with enthusiasm, not dread. We want children to look forward to coming to school and to feel like they have voice and choice within that space.  That's not always easy to do when you are leading big groups. One way to garner as much enthusiasm as possible is to make sure that students have a steady role with regard to the classroom plans and events. Let students, as often as possible, lead the learning.

In what ways are you responsible for "dread" - those feelings of friends, colleagues, students, and families who are uninterested or unmoved with regard to events you manage and run? When are you responsible for "enthusiasm" - the kinds of events that people look forward to coming to and being apart of. Dread vs. enthusiasm are important emotions to consider as you plan your days. Seek ways to build, foster, ally with, and contribute to enthusiastic teams as much as possible as those are the life enriching teams that further what we can do together with and for one another.