A reader wrote, “I try to stay positive and think of things I can do when faced with a challenge. I’m finding that negativity is contagious and a select few can really bring me down, making it hard for me to stay positive. Do you have any suggestions for how to deal with the naysayers at school?”
As you indicated, NEGATIVITY IS CONTAGIOUS. Combat it by being proactive. This is done by the simple truth that THE PERSON WHO ASKS THE QUESTION CONTROLS THE CONVERSATION.
Ask questions such as, “How is this conversation enhancing the enjoyment of our day?” “Is there anything else we could talk about so that we will leave feeling good rather than negative?”
Persevere! It can take but one person to redirect the negative talk. Also, suggest to the principal—since the principal is interested in a positive school climate—to put the situation up to the faculty. The staff may suggest some procedure or other idea to redirect such negative conversations.
By taking the initiative, you will be helping yourself, other members on the staff, and—perhaps most importantly—the effect this will have on teacher-student relationships.