Remember the old Saturday Night Live skit, “Daily Affirmation with Stuart Smally?” In it Smalley plays a new-agey, self-help guru who faces an oval mirror and recites positive affirmations like, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” It’s true: affirmations, new age mysticism, and self-help culture are easy to lampoon—and although we’ll be the first to laugh at a Stuart Smally sketch, we do happen to believe in the power of affirmations, both positive and negative.
“And Doggone it, people like me”: 10 Affirmations for teachers
Imagine a teacher who wakes up in the morning and says, “There’s never enough time in the day. I work more hours than I have to really make a difference. I cannot possibly be expected to meet all of the curriculum goals without team planning time. I’m so tired of the technology not working when I need it!”
Now imagine a teacher who wakes and says, “I will strive to reduce my students’ anxiety before their test today. I will speak positively with others and listen with compassion.”
Who has a better chance of connecting with students? Who has a better chance of inspiring other teachers? We think it’s the latter.
Our observations and internal mutterings often give shape to our experiences. When we are told something about ourselves—whether by someone else or by that critical voice inside our heads—it is an affirmation that can easily become the lens through which we see our lives.
Below you will find 10 affirmations for teachers that we borrowed from Rob D’Alessio’s book, Bringing Our Souls to the Classroom. If you’re feeling burned out, overwhelmed, exhausted, try giving some of these a try. What’s the worst that could happen?
- I support “readiness to learn”
- I promote academic performance
- I promote strengthening of attention and concentration in my classroom
- I reduce anxiety before testing and culminating tasks in my classroom
- My students are calm
- I find ways to improve classroom participation
- When I wake up, I wake up mindfully so my day is sure to meet or exceed expectations
- I aspire to express more patience today
- If I am calm, my students will instinctively move toward their own sense of calm
- If I treat my students with respect and integrity, they are likely to return the courtesy
Teaching is a rewarding profession, but let’s face it, it’s also a huge responsibility. In addition to sharing these 10 affirmations for teachers, we’d also like to share our recent guide on becoming a more mindful teacher: Zen Teaching and Teaching Zen: Mindfulness in the Classroom.