What I Can Learn from My iPhone

by: Jen Brown

I suppose you could say that this year has been a little…stressful for me. People have told me in the past (many times) that I tend to take on too much responsibility, and I know that I also struggle with asking for help. That being said, over the past six months, I’ve often found myself overwhelmed and exhausted each night when I get home from school. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, as one of my New Year’s resolutions was to make an effort to not only be more positive on a daily basis, but to also try to focus on what’s within my locus of control, something I’ve struggled with in the past. Honestly, I think I’ve been doing better with my resolution: I’ve tried very hard this past month to stay solutions-oriented. I do my best to not get wrapped up in negative thoughts – my brother and I even downloaded a “Be Positive!” iPhone app to send us positivity on a daily basis! And in the midst of stressful or tense conversations at school, I’ve tried to take a step back from the situation and observe how others are handling it.

There have been a handful of times this year where either our City Year team, or our larger Diplomas Now ninth grade team, has gotten into some tense conversations. Whether it’s about locking the third floor bathrooms, not giving out passes for students to go to the library or anywhere else, or another controversial school issue we’re trying to work through, at times people can get a little stressed. It’s natural, and we’ve all been there. Recently, however, I observed a conversation in which two teachers became visibly frustrated with each other, and it got me thinking:

How do we expect ourselves to create a less stressful environment for our students if we can’t even manage to create a less stressful environment for ourselves, as adults?

It’s an interesting thought, and it stresses (no pun intended) the responsibility that we, as adults, have to stay positive, mature, professional, and solutions-oriented. Even when situations arise that are frustrating, or when others don’t seem to be on board with our ideas, it’s so important for us to stay professional in our method of dealing with the situation, not only to save ourselves and our colleagues from the anxiety of a heated argument at work, but also to model positive, mature, responsible ways of dealing with conflict for our students.

I’ll leave you with a recent quote from the daily positivity that is delivered to me each morning, via my iPhone:

“You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.”


– Ralph Marston


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