Motivation is really powerful thing and we all sometimes get ourselves down in the dumps. Especially when the days get shorter and the nights get longer. How do you motivate yourself on a morning?
I used to struggle to get up in the morning and certainly wasn’t a morning person. So I started placing inspirational items to me around the house, it may be a card from a student or a quote. The major item that has stuck with me though is one little measly post it note. This post it note I see every morning and it reminds me to be happy. (I’m often heard attempting to sing around the maths department on a morning, a particular favourite of mine is “good morning”).
This post it note isn’t however blank it came from an inset residential session with my last school. We were all tasked for the first activity to put a blank post it note on our backs. We then had to walk around the room and put one word or short phrases on other peoples post it notes without them knowing we what we were writing. This is the second time we had done this, as we did it on the residential the year before. (I put that post it in a safe place when moving schools and I still haven’t fully unpacked yet and can’t find it.) The comments had to be about the person and could be anything from observations about their work ethic to their personality and character. The only rule was it had to be a positive comment. If you didn’t have anything positive to say I suppose you just wouldn’t walk up to that persons back.
The great thing at the end was you truly got a glimpse of the person your colleagues see you as; what is the legacy and impression you are giving your colleagues and students? You also had no idea who wrote each individual comment. I spent ages trying to figure out which comment the head wrote, however it later came to me this was the aim. Every comment on the post it note is as valuable as the last persons regardless of their rank. This year has been a massive learning curve for me and this small thing put a lot of other larger concepts into perspective for me.
This was such a lovely activity that has stuck with me and led me to do something similar with my old tutor group. I had them all write down one positive comment about each other and then I compiled the comments for the students. It was very personal and students didn't have to show each other what was said and it was done anonymously. Some of the comments made me tear up, and it gave the quietest of students a confidence boost. One of these students has recently moved to my new school and told me she still has her class photo and comments on her wall 2 years later. When I left they made me one, which I admit made me cry.
So why am I telling you about this? With the new school year coming up I thought it might be a nice time to share this as a lovely way to kick of the new academic year and give your staff or students a lift at the starting line. Remember be positive and make a difference.