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Stand Tall Steve Bollar gives a keynote at the Innovative Schools Conference

Bring Back the Joy to Education

classroom management climate culture education consultant educational leadership educational leadership programs keynote speaker leaders in education leadership coaching leadership for educational equity leadership styles in education motivational speaker professional development public speaking reflection sel social emotional learning stand tall steve steve bollar within our ranks Apr 30, 2024

While traveling the globe to improve education, I discovered a universal truth: every school has similar problems. Some schools have particular challenges in their area. Everyone feels that the issues that exist at their school are exclusive to them.  Similarly, if you are the positive one thriving with your students, that can be isolating in a toxic environment.  Remember, the goal is still the same: teach happy little humans how to learn. How can we do this?

It's natural to feel overwhelmed, discouraged, or even defeated in the last lap of the school year. However, it's during these challenging times that our resilience and inner strength are truly put to the test. By adopting a positive mindset, practicing kindness, and finding joy in teaching’s simple pleasures, we can navigate adversity with grace and emerge even stronger on the other side.


Be nice.

You do not need administrative permission to be nice.
One of the most powerful tools for overcoming adversity is kindness. When we extend kindness to others, we uplift their spirits and cultivate a sense of warmth and compassion within ourselves. Whether it's lending a listening ear to a student in need, volunteering at a school event, or simply offering a smile to a coworker, acts of kindness can create ripple effects of positivity in the world around us. Why does SMILING Make a DIFFERENCE in the CLASSROOM? | Stand Tall Statement

Have fun.

Mix it up! You can’t keep doing the same things over and over.
 To foster resilience and positivity in educational settings, consider incorporating enjoyable units of instruction that promote creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. For example, you could design a project-based learning unit centered around community service, where students work together to identify and address pressing issues in their local community. Alternatively, you could introduce a mindfulness and self-care curriculum, teaching students techniques for managing stress, building resilience, and cultivating a positive mindset. Make your lesson a game. Make a mess! 

Need a place to start? As school leaders, we continually seek new, fresh, and original ideas to improve our schools.  I would love for you to benefit from the ideas and leadership strategies I have published in my books! This is the perfect time to check out “Stand Tall Leadership” since it deals with bite-sized leadership and professional development topics.  If you are looking for new ways to engage with students and staff for next year, “IDEAS, IDEAS, IDEAS” is a must-read for quick, practical, and inexpensive ideas.


Harness the Power of Positive Self-Talk

Change the way you speak to yourself right now.  Get rid of the negative.  The world is full of critics; don’t be your own.

 Our inner dialogue profoundly impacts how we perceive and respond to adversity. By practicing positive self-talk, we can reframe negative thoughts and cultivate a mindset of resilience and self-compassion. Instead of dwelling on perceived failures or setbacks, focus on your strengths, accomplishments, and potential for growth. Affirmations such as "I am capable," "I am resilient," and "I am worthy of love and success" can help bolster your confidence and resilience in the face of adversity. You wouldn’t tolerate someone speaking to you that way and shouldn’t allow yourself to do it. End the negative self-talk. 

Even Snoop Dog writes affirmation songs for kids. Affirmations Part 1 - Believe In Yourself | Doggyland Kids Songs & Nursery Rhymes by Snoop Dogg


Think back to happy times and strategies.
Blow the dust off some old files. Bring the joy! Remember all the fun things you wanted to do as a new teacher?

It doesn’t have to be complicated.  Check out Ten Minute Classroom Openers. Co-authored with Tina Dietrich, a seasoned counselor, this book is like a treasure chest of brilliant ideas for the classroom. It's not just any book; it's your secret weapon for nurturing a welcoming, inclusive, and exciting classroom environment. It is packed with quick, fun, and interactive activities that you can effortlessly incorporate at the beginning of each class. They are designed to get everyone settled, focused, and ready to learn. It's not just about teaching subject matter; it's about fostering that all-important connection between you and your students.

Create your dream team.
I’m talking about the 1992 USA Gold Medal Basketball Team!

 Gang, you know my jam is mini golf over basketball. BUT! Michael Jordan needed a team, and so do you.  Look around the room at your next staff meeting.  Who is the Scottie Pippen of classroom management? Who is the Magic Johnson of innovative ideas? Do you have a Charles Barkley of student engagement? Bring these people in and build your team.

Building a solid support network is essential for standing tall through adversity. Whether it's a group of trusted friends, family members, or colleagues, surrounding yourself with supportive individuals who uplift and encourage you can provide invaluable emotional support during challenging times. Consider forming a support group or accountability team where members can share their experiences, offer guidance, and hold each other accountable for their goals and aspirations.

Why did you become a teacher? 

It wasn’t for the money, honey!

 Before you roll your eyes and are asked to remember your ‘why,’ hear me out. Maybe you are a kid at heart and passionate about your studies and teaching. You wrote detailed lesson plans in college, dreamed of decorating your classroom, and couldn’t wait to read your favorite book to your adoring students. You always wanted to be a teacher and worked so hard to become one.

 Where did that go? How is Toxic Tammy down the hall taking that away from you? It’s time to bring the joy back to teaching. 

Attend a conference!

Attending conferences and professional development events can provide valuable opportunities for learning, networking, and personal growth. Look for conferences or workshops on resilience, mindfulness, climate and culture, innovative teaching, or your content area. These events offer a chance to gain new insights, connect with like-minded individuals, and gather practical strategies for overcoming adversity and thriving personally and professionally. Check these out. You never know who you will meet!

Jostens Renaissance Global Conference

Innovative Schools Conference


Read an uplifting book:

Books can inspire, educate, and transform our lives in profound ways. Consider reading books exploring resilience, perseverance, and personal growth. Some recommended titles include 

"Mindset: The New Psychology of Success" by Carol S. Dweck. 

Teach Happy” by Kim Strobel RIGHT Way To Do Work Life Balance for Teachers | Radical Wellness

These books offer valuable insights, practical strategies, and inspiring stories to help you navigate adversity with courage, resilience, and grace.


Find Joy in the Little Things:

Amidst life's challenges, it's essential to take time to enjoy the simple pleasures that bring us happiness. Whether it's spending time with loved ones, indulging in a favorite hobby, or immersing ourselves in nature, finding joy in the little things can provide a much-needed respite from the stress and turmoil of adversity. By cultivating a sense of gratitude for the beauty and abundance surrounding us, we can shift our perspective and find solace in moments of joy.


Time for a change? Join Within Our Ranks

There may come a time when you are ready for a big change. Whether it is retirement or you truly feel your talents can be more useful, there is an exclusive opportunity that you will want to take advantage of. It's called Within Our Ranks, and it's your ticket to making a real difference in the world of education. It's more than just a program; it's a transformative experience for educators who aspire to be professional speakers and make their voices heard.

Here's the deal: "Within Our Ranks" is an intensive training program that equips educators (with at least ten years of K-12 experience) with the skills and knowledge they need to enter the world of professional speaking, training, and consulting. It's a chance to unlock your full potential and share your insights with the world.   

In the face of adversity, it's essential to cultivate resilience, optimism, and self-compassion. By practicing kindness, finding joy in life's simple pleasures, and harnessing the power of positive self-talk, we can stand tall through even the toughest times. Additionally, by teaching enjoyable units of instruction, creating a supportive team, attending conferences, and reading books focused on personal growth and resilience, we can continue to learn, grow, and thrive in the face of adversity. Remember, adversity may bend us, but it doesn't have to break us – with courage, resilience, and a positive mindset, we can overcome any challenge that comes our way. 

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