Stomp Negative Thoughts!

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One thing that I have noticed as a teacher is that many kids these days are very hard on themselves.  They often dwell on the negative and completely ignore their positive attributes.  It is amazing how hard it can be to convince them that they are smart and fully capable learners.  I use quite a bit of positive reinforcement in my classroom.  I often ignore negative behaviors and overexaggerate positive behaviors.  This has been my preferred method of classroom management.

When I hear my students talk poorly about themselves, I make them repeat something positive about themselves.   I use wall signs in my classroom as a reminder to stay positive.  Once a student is convinced that they are a wonderful, talented individual, they perform so much better for me.  I use the following worksheet to help them visualize a positive thought.
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My Top 10 Favorite Positive Praise Phrases:
1.  Wow, you are really good at that!
2.  What?  Are you a genius?
3.  I LOVE how you did that.
4.  I KNEW you were brilliant!
5.  How did you learn how to do that so quickly?
6.  You are SO creative!  How did you think of that?
7.  I am so PROUD of you and your hard work.
8.  You are really going to be something special when you grow up!
9.  That is an EXCELLENT answer!  Are you sure you are only 10?
10.  Will you remember your teacher one day when you are famous?!!!!

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Top 3 Reasons to go back to school in your forties or later!

Proud big brothers!
I spent a lot of time in my late thirties thinking that my mind was not as sharp as it was in my younger days.  I had every excuse in the book  NOT to go back to college.  Three kids and a full time job seemed like enough on my plate.  However, I had this nagging sensation to go back to grad school.  Each time I let my mind go there, thoughts of kids and work would send those thoughts packing.  I began reading stories of friends on facebook who were going back to school and living their dreams.  Little by little, I gained confidence.  One day I was talking to a colleague in her late fifties who was working on her doctoral degree.  Doctoral degree in her fifties?  After getting over my initial shock, my mind began to wrap around the idea that going back to school after forty was not the most horrible idea in the world.  Something about talking to a real live person who had actually made that step, makes it all seem real and possible.  (Thank you to all my inspirational friends who do not even know that they influenced my life!!!)   I made a decision to just go for it.  I enrolled in class, and before you know it, I was on my way.  Along the way, I found that there are benefits to going back to school later in life.

1.  You are still the same old you, just NEW and improved!

My little one "helping"
during a study session.
My life experiences have taught me so much more than I thought and I was not afraid of hard work.  Being a working mom has given me endurance and strength to carry on in the face of any challenge.  Endurance is the key word.  College takes a lot of endurance.  As we age, we have the advantage of building our endurance.  Writing a paper is nothing compared to being thrown up on all night and going to work the next day without a wink of sleep.  When my young counterparts complained of missing a night of partying in order to write a paper, I wasn't phased a bit because I have missed countless nights of going out with my friends, due to being a parent. (and I don't regret any of it)  My cousin, who is also in her forties and also in college, came over for many study sessions.   She decided to just "go for it" about the same time that I did.  I believe God had something to do with our adventure because she was a huge source of support during my journey.  As seen in the picture, my daughter even joined in the fun.

2.  Making up your mind to do it is the hardest part.  After that, you are on the road to success.
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Getting past our own negative thoughts about going back to school is the hardest obstacle to overcome. If you can just submit the application and get the ball rolling, the rest will fall into place.  Yes, there will be obstacles (many of them).  Don't let others tell you that you are making a mistake.  You will be your own best advocate or your own worst enemy.  I suggest using a little positive self talk every day to motivate yourself before the negative thoughts come to mind.  If negative thoughts come to mind, replace them with the positive ones.  Be consistent, almost relentless with this.  You'd be surprised how something so simple can be so effective.   Start talking to people who can answer your questions about going back to school.  You will need to stay informed and focused on your dream.

3.  You might be somebody else's inspiration.
Who knows?!  You might inspire somebody else to go back to school!  What a great feeling!!!