Who do you gravitate to when you need positive energy? Are you a source of positive energy for others? Jennifer Gonzalez writes an excellent article (“Find Your Marigold”) in which she presents the analogy of marigolds warding off pests in the garden to teachers finding others with positive energy for us to bask and grow in. The article is written for new teachers, but I think the idea is a wonderful reminder for all of us. Teaching is one of the hardest jobs out there. It requires patience, energy, enthusiasm, time, a belief that our students are capable and a desire to really guide them to learn. It’s no wonder we’re tired at the end of a day and it’s also easy to understand why many teachers burn out.
This article really made me think. Am I a marigold for someone? I don’t think I’m a marigold all the time and certainly not for everyone. This was a good reminder that what we put out we get back–good old karma. The energy we put out is the energy we attract. In my role as an EdTech coach, I encounter plenty of ‘walnut trees’ in all shapes and sizes. Whilst it’s easy to say, ‘surround yourself with positive people’, sometimes it’s not our choice to make. A big part of my whole job is convincing the unwilling to try something new, make a change, see the possibilities. I can definitely see the effect that the toxicity of the walnut trees have on my spirit and enthusiasm. It’s at those points when I need to find my own marigolds–go into a kindergarten class and see the excitement of young learners or spend time in my maker space with the buzz of inquisitive kiddos discovering, planning and thinking. It is also why I make sure I have time to be part of groups like Tricia’s blogging challenge, attend Learning2 conferences, reading books and articles, listening to podcasts, working with willing colleagues to pull our energy together and plan meaningful learning experiences for students. All these things are essential to feed my spirit so that I have a reserve tank when the ‘walnut trees’ make me want to scream.
I’m happy to have read this today. It’s given me pause and reminded me that I need to heed the advice that I always give my two sons, ‘you get what you give’. Who or what are your marigolds and how are you a marigold for your colleagues? How do you deal with the ‘walnut trees’?