Dear teachers: spreading positivity impacts us


Stephanie Wallace, Staff Reporter

Teachers, how does your day start out? When you enter your classroom, what sort of atmosphere do you hope to bring? Disciplinary? Welcoming? The way teachers choose to start the day has more impact on how it ends for a student than many realize.
According to a study written on the topic of transferring emotions by Maria Cohert, this action is called “social contagion”, which is the term used for moods spreading from person to person via social interaction.
For example, when students walk into a classroom, a teacher lecturing them about how they aren’t putting forward enough effort can set a negative tone. Similarly, when a teacher doesn’t want to be at school, it shows. When the whole class can tell that a teacher feels sluggish, it creates an overall uncaring environment for everyone.
Some teachers such as Patrick Hanley, history teacher, try to keep energy throughout the day and encourage engagement within the classroom. When there is positive energy into the classroom, the students may be more willing to raise their hands and answer questions.
Understandably, when teachers go through more than 60 students in half a day, patience and total awareness may be hard to maintain. Scott Nissley, math teacher, said that “it can be frustrating” when a class is unengaged or unwilling to learn because at the end of the day, teachers just want to help students. According to Nissley, seeing how former students’ lives have been impacted by his lessons makes the job worth it.
Sometimes, students fail to realize this aspect in the mix of lectures and truck loads of homework, and this can cause miscommunication between teacher and student. This miscommunication affects the overall environment and can leave the classroom with tension when the bell rings.
This is not to say that only teachers bring negativity into a classroom. According to physics teacher, Nicole Walker, the attitude of the class can affect the whole lesson of the day.
At times, students can be reluctant to come to school and sometimes it seems disrespectful, but it is usually not intended to be that way. Students wake up anywhere between five and six in the morning, sit through seven hours of class, might stay after school for two more hours doing clubs or activities, then go home and spend a various amount of time doing homework.
Because of the stress of high school, students may not always be the most positive people. I’m sure we students would appreciate teachers’ efforts to counter-balance the stress by finding ways to make the class atmosphere more positive.
There are going to be days when both parties may be reluctant to engage with the other, but cooperation and a willingness to learn will bring everyone together for the better.
Overall, how a teacher acts towards the class has such an impact on the students, that regardless of any less-than-ideal student behavior, a teacher having a positive attitude can make a student’s day, and set up the class for success.