We need more marigolds!

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’?

Image Credits:
Marigold by Pauline Rosenberg is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Featured Image Credit:
Marigold by Pauline Rosenberg is licensed under CC BY 4.0

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  • Reply
    August 28, 2017 at 08:51

    This is a lovely reminder, Kim, to think about how our behaviour can affect others. Sometimes, we just need to a make a conscious decision to be positive and more importantly, I believe, to be grateful – easier said than done I guess. I used to spend a lot of time judging others for how I felt about their behaviour and how they made me feel. Then, I chose to take the control back. I had no idea what is going on in their lives. I started to see them as the help I needed as they were teaching me to respond in a different way. Suddenly, I started to see less ‘negative’ people and more people who were helping me to grow and forgive. It’s still a challenge, but the change in my perception of them helped me. I guess then we are all marigolds (but some days we need those that are brighter than others).
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    Louie Barnett
    August 28, 2017 at 23:11

    Thanks for this reminder, Kim. I think it’s so important to surround yourself with positive energy. Negative comments stick and can become pervasive. It reminds me of a quote from my principle, “micro-comments lead to macroculture.” This whole article, quite pleasantly, has reminded me of my previous school in inner-city Liverpool. I was lucky enough to be mentored by two of the most inspiring people I have ever met. They worked hard and loved what they did. Their positivity got me through many tough times as a trainee teacher. I owe them immensely so thank you for reminding me of that!

    “I don’t think I’m a marigold all the time and certainly not for everyone.”

    This is so true. I’m sure we can think of many occasions when we have all been negative and we probably kick ourselves for it. We become the drain that we desperately don’t want to become. However, I think we have to be kind to ourselves here. We all have our moments and that’s why we can’t be marigolds for everyone, all the time, as you say.

    Now, who are my marigolds. I have a few but one of the most important has been a colleague who joined last year. I’m really able to get into the nitty gritty of pedagogy with them and they always seem interested. I’ve had some great conversations with this person and am very grateful for that. Someone who will talk seriously about education with me (but with a positive spin, always looking to improve) is a definite marigold for me.

    I also think there are many different types of marigold. There are the obvious marigolds who are just rays of sunshine all the time, and there are the less obvious. Those members of staff who take time to listen to your issues. They are amazing marigolds. Also, depending on your perspective, someone who is being overly negative could be a marigold. Maybe it’s your opportunity to brighten someone’s day and get to the bottom of helping this person through their problems. There’s nothing more uplifting than that!

    Thanks for this post, it really got me thinking!

  • Reply
    Georgina Gonzalez
    September 5, 2017 at 03:59

    Really loved reading your post! The way you write is fresh, concise and moving. Thanks
    It made me think about the marigolds in my life, a couple of names came to my mind, then I thought about those moments when I think I am being a marigold or when I try to be one.
    And because I do believe that what we see in the world mirrors who we are (you get what you give) Maybe the whole focus should be on us being marigolds and then slowly but surely we will realize that we are surrounded by them.
    I guess the walnut trees are just dressed up as that because they are afraid to be marigolds.

  • Reply
    Nicki Hambleton
    September 11, 2017 at 01:23

    Hi Kim,
    I am totally with you here, and it sounds like the school is very lucky to have such a positive energy that you clearly bring. The trouble with walnut trees is they cannot be ignored or avoided. In fact they often have so much fruit to bear (I love walnuts don’t you?!). We have to tap into their passions, positivity and get to know them better – what makes them tick/happy/enthusiastic? Everyone has a story that has made them who and what they are, and if we can get to know even a piece of that perhaps we can help them to be more like marigolds in the future.
    Good luck gardening!

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