As is the case with any endeavors we undertake, the attitude with which we begin our day defines everything that follows. It makes perfect sense.

If I walk into a classroom thinking, “Oh, I wonder what kinds of little rambunctious animals I’ll be facing today,” they will inevitably live down to my expectations. If I approach my day with an open mind, I am fully equipped to handle what transpires, good or bad.

Traveling from school to school, I see a wide range of early morning teacher attitudes. Some are bright and cheery – Have a wonderful day!. Others are gloomy or simply negative – Another day of warfare. My best guess is that the first group of teachers generates much better responses from students than the second.

Students don’t deserve to be exposed to or suffer from our personal issues. When a teacher doesn’t love to teach, why be there? Your negativity translates to “I don’t want to teach; I don’t care if you learn something or not.” Kids don’t need that. If the teacher is resentful about being here, what reason do I have to be positive or behave properly?

Arguably, the perspective works just as well in the office, factory, clinic or any other working environment. How many jobs have I worked where I walk into a room with co-workers who are angry, tearful, or argumentative? The quality of job performance is commensurate with the attitudes we bring to the workplace.

When I worked in an insurance call center, I dedicated myself to prompt, efficient, compassionate service. It came as no surprise to many that I received copious client commendations. The way I saw it my clients deserved that level of care, regardless of my headache or frustrations with getting to work in a snowstorm.

For as long as I am able to teach, my students will continue to get smiles and positive greetings. If I’m not excited to see them, they are not motivated to display their best behavior. Promising to give my maximum makes it possible and desirable for them to reciprocate. And I can’t think of anything better than that. Shalom.

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