Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Optimism and Positivity in Education

The most recent incarnation of the standards for headteachers centres around the skills and personality traits that excellent headteachers will possess. As I did my yearly self check (the first time I've done it with this new framework) one of the key characteristics jumped out at me:

Excellent headteachers demonstrate optimistic personal behaviour, positive relationships and attitudes towards their pupils and staff, and towards parents, governors and members of the local community.

Optimism and positivity - my two favourite words when it comes to education. I've written about them both before, and defended their relevance too. In an increasingly jaded profession where, in some quarters, pessimism and negativity abound, if our leaders aren't optimistic and positive, then what hope do we have?

I'm not a headteacher, yet I find the qualities outlined in the standards document a list of characteristics to aspire to. All teachers are leaders in some capacity - they lead children, support staff, some lead other teachers - and so we'd all do well to strive to display the characteristics outlined in the standards of excellence for headteachers.

And a great starting point would be to begin to cultivate a spirit of optimism in the way that you speak and act. This will inevitably lead to the development of positivity in working relationships - optimism rubs off on others. And most of the time you can't wait around for something to naturally make you feel optimistic, like SATs being scrapped, or Ofsted telling you they're leaving you alone for four years. Optimism is a choice. Optimism is something that can be learned - this blog post has some great tips on how to become more optimistic.

If you became that little bit more optimistic, who might you affect in a positive way? Who could you lead into optimism, just by being optimistic yourself? Could you lead yourself into optimism? Try it, I think you might like it.

Photo Credit: mambonumberfive via Compfight cc


  1. Goof post! My whole push with mindfulness was as much for the children as it has been for the staff. Positivity begets positivity. Many of the strategies I have been writing about in my blog are just as relevant to adults. I read once, "The HT is the face of the school.". I try to remember, everyday that I walk through those doors that I have control of my own happiness and lead by example. It can be hard on some days. But, I just keep smiling!

    1. Thanks for the comment! Not sure what you meant by 'goof post' but I think you and I are on the same page!

  2. Oh no! Sorry! Typo! I meant, Good post!

  3. Not only does positive thinking reduce stress and increases health, but it allows you to see the good in everything. Being optimistic about the way you think creates an incubator for creativity to nurture and grow. It's been proven that positive thinking people are happier. Mary crosland

    Mary crosland
    As Winston Churchill says "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty". Positive thinking is what makes creative minds shine above the rest.