Isolated, lonely, and disillusioned are adjectives that some educators use to describe their low moments in their noble quest to support learning. These terms, along with being tired and having a lack of time to create and design beautiful learning experience, can fill the end of a long school year. All of these feelings are exhausting for educators, and once they start, they often spiral into stress and anxiety.
I'm on a quest to look for small ways to be proactive in preventing these low moments and build the whole teacher that remains robust in mind, body, and spirit until the end of the school year.
This quest has led me to explore the concept of a plus one mentality for educators.
Plus one mentality calls on educators to support other students and educators beyond the normal scope of their work as a regular practice. Plus one mentality blends the ideas of Wharton professor, Adam Grant, in his book Give and Take; passion projects for educators, and the best of being a connected educator.
It calls for all educators to have at least one project that supports student or adult learning beyond the walls of their classroom, school or district. It moves their sphere of influence from the students and adults that they work with every day to learning everywhere.
Why does the plus one mentality matter? It takes the routine and changes it. The jolt of having a project in which you are passionate and inserting it into the normal day injects fresh energy and ideas. It showcases that the things that you know and do can have a larger impact, and the plus one mentality also connects educators to others that may have a belly fire for modern learning that they aren't seeing or feeling from inside of their school or district.
Plus one mentality also spreads ideas. It plants fresh ideas in new places, and gives them an opportunity for another home. Adam Grant describes these acts of giving as a habit that results in exponential returns. These returns include additional positive energy, a sense of confidence that individuals see you as an expert, and a growing network of idea amplifiers.
Asking for people to do more work rarely gets a standing ovation, but developing a culture that embracing the plus one mentality can inoculate educators from the end of the year blues where physical and mental health are sacrificed and isolation, loneliness, and disillusionment creep heavily in the halls and walls of our schools.
Begin today by asking an educator beyond your school or district how you can team up to support an idea or project or take something that you know that students enjoy about how your classroom or school and share it with fervor.