How To Protect Yourself Against Curmudgeons

by Danielle Sullivan on October 2, 2014

Curmudgeon: a bad-tempered, surly, negative, difficult, cantankerous person.  Typically after being around a curmudgeon for 5-minutes you feel drained, dragged down, frustrated, tired, etc.  Do you know someone who has this affect on you?

You must protect your energy against curmudgeons now!  It’s the beginning of the school year and the amount of time you give them now, sets a precedent for how much time will be expected of you throughout the year.  We’re teachers - we’re kind and loving and helpful - but at what cost to you, your energy, and your attitude?

Here are some helpful tips to help you handle the energy suckers in your life.

Let’s Set Some Healthy Boundaries…

Or as I like to call it, loving from a distance.  Set the intention now of how you want to handle the curmudgeons in your school and your life!  

Practice setting healthy boundaries and what type of loving communication you’d like to use.  Remember that tone matters, so play around with it and see how they sound to you.  Here are two of my favorite examples:

“So you really think that this task is going to be challenging.  Well, okay!  Let’s just jump in and see how we can move it forward.  One idea I had was (___).”  Or…

“I’m so sorry you have to deal with that.  I know (fill in the blank) can be really difficult.  I hope it gets resolved for you quickly.  Please excuse me I have to (___).”

Unless you’re in an instructional coach position, administrator, or moonlight as a therapist, that should be all you need to do.  

As teachers, we must protect our energy from negativity so that we can focus on being excellent teachers and exude positive energy with our students.

Once we keep the curmudgeons at bay…

Create Community With Like Minded Co-Workers

I firmly believe that nothing is more powerful than a roomful of positive teachers.

If it sounds exciting to you: set up a group that meets twice a month.  Talk about what’s working in your classroom, and what’s not.  Listen and learn from each other.  I’ve seen “unsolvable problems” get resolved with creativity and ease when teachers gather with one another.

Curmudgeons not welcome, but positive and constructive teachers are!

Danielle Sullivan is a special education teacher.  She is dedicated to empowering teachers to reignite their passion in and out of the classroom. Bring your happy back at or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

venkateswara cheruku   on March 27, 2016
good article

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