I just came back from the TpT conference in Orlando. The conference was an incredible opportunity to meet with tons of other teacher-authors who I have been collaborating with through social media and plenty of teacher-authors that I hadn’t met yet. I loved meeting up with my STEM buddies Jean, Joan, Sandy, Anne, and Tiffany, as well as my newbie friends Sarah, Kelly, and Allison.
I also truly enjoyed learning more about social media, finances, homeschooling, and creating quality videos, as well as learning from and receiving tips from veterans of TpT.
My trip was even more fun because I brought the whole family along, and we took my 15-month-old son to Disney World for a couple of days. We visited Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. I loved experiencing it all through my son’s eyes. It’s a Small World becomes much more magical again once you enjoy the ride with a little one. Somehow my little guy grew up quickly on this trip as he learned to use a straw, started mimicking us big time, dances to music, and attempts to run. My favorite thing that he mimics is the “I don’t know” shrug. What an experience!
Although my biggest take-away from the conference is less about what I learned and more about how I felt. The phenomenal leadership demonstrated by our TpT team from headquarters amazes me. Through welcome procedures and answers to difficult questions, Team TpT always sends out positive vibes. They created and modeled a positive environment in which we could feel safe and learn from other teacher-authors from all around the globe.
Upon reflecting on my experience at the conference, I would like to share with you some reminders about how you can become a positive leader this year in your own school. Regardless of whether you’re an administrator, curriculum coordinator, team leader or classroom teacher, you can be a leader among your peers with these simple reminders.
1 – Share your smile.
A smile can go a long way. Think about how you feel when someone looks irritated compared to someone who exudes genuinely pleasant feelings. I truly believe that smiles are contagious. Smiles represent putting yourself out there in a welcoming manner.
2 – Compliment someone every day.
This one’s my favorite. Think about how you feel when someone notices a new outfit or hairstyle or they just say something nice about how you look or something you did. It feels great! Share the love by actively remembering to compliment at least one person per day. It could be a student, coworker, or administrator. I had a math teacher in high school that used to compliment my shoes (we wore uniforms so that was one of my few ways to dress uniquely). I still feel great when I think about the relationship I had with this teacher.
3 – Be a professional.
Have you ever heard the expression “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”? Maybe not every day, but every once in a while throw on a nice dress or professional suit. Beyond just how you dress, be professional in the language you use in front of coworkers and students. Make good decisions and be sure that even if your social media accounts are private that you are portraying yourself in a professional light.
When I was in the schools, there was always something to gossip about or complain about. It is so easy to get sucked in. I have been sucked in many times. Try not to! Definitely don’t be that person who is “stirring the pot” and getting everyone all riled up about something small. Instead try to take a neutral stance or mediate issues that arise.
5 – Be a good listener.
There’s a difference between gossiping and being a good listener. Be there for your coworkers as a sounding board. Many people will just want someone to listen to what they’re going through, but you can also jump into action if appropriate.
6 – Find the confidence to participate.
I am truly an introvert through and through, but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t able to demonstrate leadership in staff meetings and group settings. Push yourself to offer your own ideas and opinions, especially when you don’t agree with what’s being said. Work hard to share your talents – even if that means running a professional development session on something you’re passionate about. (I did it!)
I hope you’re able to see the common thread of positivity throughout these ideas. I honestly believe that by sharing your smile, love, listening ear, acceptance, etc. and by modeling professionalism for others, that you will be a leader within your own community.
Thanks for reading! There will be plenty more ideas shared this year. Subscribe to get email updates along the way. When you sign-up you will also receive the link to a free middle school math classroom resource by email.