Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Leave your baggage at the schoolhouse door

"Leave your 'stuff' at the door to the gym" or "Leave your baggage at the gate to the field." Those were both phrases that I would tell my players during my coaching career. Stress, worry, self-doubt, negativity, and anger were just some of the emotions that I was referring to. I knew that the court or the field could be a place of refuge. I wanted the places where we practiced and played to be places where the athletes could, if for a short time, take their focus away from negative emotions and be surrounded by positivity. 

I also knew that the negative emotions would take away from a player's personal development as well as the team development and cohesiveness. I wanted each and every athlete to be as individually successful as possible, and I wanted the team to be successful as a group.  

These were also actions that I felt like I needed to do as the leader of my players. I had to leave my own baggage at the door so that I could pour into my players as much as I had to give. It was also important for me to model these life skills and coping skills, because we learn greatly from things that are modeled for us. 

Why is it important that educators "leave their baggage at the door" and keep it out of the classroom?

What we value is reflected in our actions, so we must first value positivity and being the best person we can be for our students. When this is one of our values, it becomes easier to check the baggage at the door. 

Educators who bring negative baggage into the workplace, whether it's a classroom or school, can be temperamental, inconsiderate, resentful, and neglectful.

As educators, we commit to bringing our best to our students each day. It's hard to bring out the best in others when we are not our best selves. 

We need to model positivity and teamwork for our students. Kids will learn more from what we do and who we are than what we say.

How to leave your baggage at the door

Understand that positivity is a choice. Negative body language, tone of voice, and other actions prevent a person from demonstrating a positive attitude.

Practice mindfulness. Know yourself, be self-aware of your emotions, and be conscious of what you are bringing into the workplace.

Forgive others and yourself. Unforgiveness is a heavy burden, and one that's hard to shed. 

Make a conscious decision to be emotionally consistent at work. Allow the door to the building to be your trigger to open yourself up to positivity and gratitude, crowding out all of the negative baggage.

What are other ways a person might leave their baggage at the door?


  1. I LOVE this post! It's a great reminder of what we need to do to focus...focus on positive, not on negative, be present and connected. Those things are so important and your reminders to all of us are poignant and relevant to teaching, learning, and coaching Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is such an important truth; your message needs to be heard again and again and again

  3. Jennifer,

    This is a must for educators and coaches. Our kids deserve the best version of ourselves (and so do we)! Our focus determines our reality and when we are focused on the positive and our students good things will happen (even when things in our personal life may not be going well). Thanks for the reminder!

  4. This post has a great message! Kids deserve the best that we have to offer. Positivity is a tangible thing, the way that we speak, our tone, facial expressions etc all impact the culture of learning. As educators we have to remember that...always.