Jordan Collier

Friday Thoughts: Be the Filter

Newspaper Blackout by Austin Kleon (click image to see more of Austin's work)

Newspaper Blackout by Austin Kleon (click image to see more of Austin’s work) 

Each day we encounter positive and negative situations that are beyond our control, but what is in our control is how those situations affect our interactions with others. In his book What Great Teachers Do Differently, Todd Whitaker refers to this as our filter. He says that whether we are aware of it or not, our behavior and response to situations outside our control sets the tone of our school. The most effective educators understand this and choose carefully.

Here are some things to keep in mind when being a filter:

  • Be positive. If you’re having a bad day, you don’t necessarily have to tell about it when someone casually asks, “How’s your day going?” Instead, focus on the good things happening around you. Add positivity to those around us— they may need some encouragement and certainly don’t need more things to worry about.
  • Tone matters. If we establish a positive and professional tone, students will match that tone. However, if our tone is negative and confrontational, students will respond in kind.
  • Have an attitude that communicates “I want to be here.” Students will pick up on this and want to be here, too. When teaching a lesson, being excited about teaching a lesson is way more effective than teaching something because “it’s in our book” or “it’s just something we have to do.” Kids pick up on this.
  • Don’t add to negativity— especially around colleagues. Why spend any downtime sharing negative stories or complaining about something? We all feel overwhelmed and short on time— why on earth would we want to spend our limited free time talking about it?
  • Keep issues in their place. Instead of fanning the flames of controversy, effective teachers have a quieting influence. They don’t allow outside issues to affect their classrooms.
  • Remember that perception is reality. Effective educators understand that one of the best ways to alter perceptions is to provide new ones. When they hear a colleague talking negatively about a student, they become an advocate for that student.

We are blessed to be educators and even more blessed to work at a great school like CAC. Our students are outstanding! We may have a few who are challenging, but nevertheless, they’re OUR students, and God has put them here to give us the opportunity of influencing their lives. Let’s make the most of our opportunities and live up to our greater calling. As Whitaker says, “Consciously or unconsciously, we decide the tone of our classrooms and our school.”

Jordan Collier

Jordan Collier

Secondary Principal

Jordan Collier is the secondary principal at CAC. Prior to joining the CAC family in 2011, Jordan was an English teacher for the Cabot School District. Jordan is a two-time graduate of Harding University (’03 and ’08) and has a bachelor’s degree in English Education and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Each week, Jordan shares his Friday Thoughts with the CAC faculty and staff, and an excerpt of that is shared on The 'Stang.

‹ Back to The 'Stang