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Leaving the Classroom Episode 6: Toxic Positivity | The Narcissist Tendencies in Education Part 2

#becomeaninstructionaldesigner #idolcoursesacademy #leaving the classroom podcast #leavingtheclassroom #toxicpositivityineducation Apr 11, 2023

Leaving the Classroom: A Transitioning Teacher Podcast

Toxic Positivity | The Narcissistic Tendencies in Education Part 2 

The catchphrases teachers often hear from administration and the district are actually just toxic positivity. These phrases and slogans fed to teachers demand that you ignore, suppress, or deny negative or critical emotions. This excessive upbeatness isn’t used to lift the spirits of the teachers, but as a tool of guilt and control.

Listen to the episode here:

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Enjoy the podcast transcription:  

The opinions expressed within this podcast are solely mine, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of Idol courses, or its affiliates. This episode contains content that may be alarming to some listeners. Please check the show notes for more detailed descriptions and take care of yourself.

Welcome to leaving the classroom. This is a podcast for teachers who are ready to transition out of the classroom and into a new career. Each week I'll share stories about what I've learned moving from education to the corporate world. I'll answer the most common questions and share my best tips to help you get started. If you are considering leaving the classroom, this show is for you.

Hello, everyone. Welcome to leaving the classroom. I'm Kristi Oliva. And I am so excited you are here. We are in the middle of a series called the narcissistic traits of education and more specifically the abuse that results. Narcissistic abuse as a form of emotional abuse. Narcissists use words and language and manipulative ways to damage alter or otherwise control someone's behavior. So today, let's talk about more of the narcissistic traits of the education system. I've mentioned it before, but I am a mentor for Idol courses Academy. I helped so many teachers in the program and I asked them to tell me what kinds of things they are told as teachers. I was looking for catchphrases, they hear from the administration in the district that are actually just toxic positivity. These phrases and slogans are fed to the teachers and demand that they ignore, suppress or deny negative or critical emotions. This excessive upbeat miss isn't used to lift the spirits of the teachers, but instead as a tool of guilt, and control. So let's go through the submissions I got from the teachers.

The first one remember self care. This phrase turns everything back on teachers. Now, when you're in the middle of trauma, or when you are in the middle of stress, yes, you should remember self care and take care of yourself. But this phrase is said over and over again, to put it back on the teachers. Like no, it can't possibly be that there are parents saying and doing inappropriate things that belittle you as a teacher and a professional, you need to remember self care. No, you know, because you have all these behavior problems in your classroom, it can't possibly be that we need to get help for the students or provide you with more resources, you just need to remember self care. It can't possibly be that maybe you work in a terrible school district or our school, you just need to remember self care. It turns it around and puts it back on teachers.

Alright, the next one that a teacher sent into me was you have a duty to fulfill this calling for the kids and parents of this community. Oh, this one taps into what we joined teaching for what we became teachers for is that we did feel like we had a calling. I mean, I speak for myself on this. Maybe not all teachers feel this way. But I know many of us, do. We we feel this calling to be a teacher. We love serving others, and we love seeing the aha moments of the students. But what does it mean? It's our duty to fulfill this just because we chose it 10 years ago, 15 years ago, 20 years ago, we're allowed to say you know what? Maybe this isn't my calling anymore. Maybe this isn't my duty. Maybe this isn't for me. You are not obligated to fulfill this for the kids and parents of this community.

We are as teachers, an important piece in this child's life. We see them sometimes more than their parents see them on a day to day basis. And through no fault of the parents necessarily. It's just a fact. But we are not their parents. We are their educator, their teacher, and it is not our responsibility to fill that gap from what's happening at home to what's happening at school, and we do our best as teachers to provide a safe place to fall land, you know, we do our best, we do our best. But again, this is putting it all back on the teacher and making you feel like you're guilty if you are not doing the best that you can, if you are not everyday handling them with care and being what they need. But you know what? There's something flawed with our education system. If the kids need the teacher that bad if the kid needs the teacher to fill that gap, we have a different problem on our hands, and it's not the teacher.

All right, here comes another submission. On my last year before moving districts, my admin made it clear that parents send us what they have, they aren't keeping all the good ones at home when talking about all behavior problems we had. Yikes. Okay. So this one, I always tried to make myself feel better about this. When you hear something like you have bad behavior in your class, I would always think, okay, well, they feel safe, you know, putting forth their worst in my class, they feel safe with me. Still not an excuse, you know, parents send us what they have. That is such a cop out. Parents send us what they have. These are their pride and joy, they're babies, they're not just sending us their half baked cake that they didn't have time to finish, this is a child. And so this, again requires the teacher to fill the gap from home to school, not responsible for that teachers, you are not responsible for that.

Here's another one that a teacher sent in to me, my district chose remember your legacy, as its motto this year, the superintendent quit halfway through the school year. Remember your legacy, okay? So this one bothers me on lots of levels. But really, the main thing is that it makes the teacher's career, be their identity. Your legacy, I gotta be honest, my legacy is not what I see what I do at work, it's how I raised my own children, and the imprint, I'm leaving at my church, my community, my friends and family. So to put that on a teacher that you are leaving behind this legacy at work is too much. It's not what we were designed to do at our workplace. Because what that requires of us is to think, much bigger than just this is our workplace. This is, this requires you to think of this as your identity as your well being as everything that you hold dear. If you're thinking about a legacy, it's not okay.

Oh, the next one I see over and over and over again, in many different ways, shape or form. So we have we are a team, be a team player, we are a family. So first of all, you're not a family. The school is not your family, your work is not your family, you have a family. And you may have close friends at school that become your family. But that's different than the way that this is being presented to teachers, that we're all in this together. But to be honest, you're not. And in many workplaces, you're not let's just be real, okay. But in education, you are not a family. But they're making you feel that feeling so that you again feel like you need to bring this home you need this needs to be everything you think about, we are a family.

The one that bothers me even more though, is the be a team player, because this is very instigating and makes it seem like if you're not doing everything they're asking you to do then you are not being a good team player. If you are not lowering your boundaries, if you are setting restrictions for yourself, then you are not a team player. But teachers, I'm going to tell you, you have permission to put up boundaries, you have permission to set up parameters for yourself of what you are going to do and not do in your professional life. As opposed to your personal life, you are allowed to say I'm not taking this home with me that my work stays at work, so that I can actually leave a legacy at home if we're going to go back to the legacy. I want to leave my legacy with my children, with my family and with my friends. So if you're being told that you're not being a team player, I would say you're probably doing something right. Because they are now feeling threatened by the fact that you are setting boundaries for yourself.

And with that, I just want to tell you that if you are ready to leave the classroom if you are ready to set that boundary and say I'm done, I'm done with this guilt trip and this toxic positivity.  If you are ready to leave the classroom, I invite you to check out IDOL courses Academy, sign up using my code Classroom100 and get $100 off enrollment. Don't let the abuse continue. Get ready to leave the classroom now. That's all for this episode. But you can find more at or subscribe to the podcast. 

Send your stories or your questions to [email protected] or share them with me on Instagram  @leavingtheclassroom. This is Kristi Oliva. See you next time.