Many years ago I sat in a terrible staff meeting. Positions in our school were being removed, a colleague’s illness had taken a turn for the worse, and one of our dear students had lost her father. Everyone was feeling heartbroken and frustrated.
“We just need to put a happy face on it!” the administrator chirped and moved on to bus duty schedule announcements. There was a clear expectation that we weren’t supposed to discuss what was going on and we all needed to “leave the negative at the door for the children.” That was not good advice or developmentally appropriate.
Toxic positivity, that message to “bring good vibes only” has serious negative consequences, both psychologically and on the outcomes in the workplace and classrooms:
The message to “focus on the positive” and “it could be worse” was silencing our ability to grieve, process, and be empathetic towards each other.
So what do we do instead? Some points that have carried me through tough feelings and interactions:
As we start a new year, which may be the hardest year some of us have ever lived: all vibes are welcome. PATINS’s support and kindness are here when you need it when providing healthy, sustainable, and respectful access and engagement for all students.
PATINS Blog: Feeling the Burnout
Indiana Resource: Be Well Indiana for mental health resources, crisis hotlines (both for voice and via text), and assistance
"vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change." Brene Brown. Thanks Jessica for this timely blog. Sitting with my rage today.
Kindness is the first step to healing and moving forward with 2021. Thank you, Jessica, for this blog as a friendly reminder. So noted.