Girl holding sign "I Get Better and Better"Physical education is much more than developing students to be physically fit and healthy, across multiple domains. Our job is to teach students to have confidence in a wide variety of skill sets. But gaining confidence in a physical skill doesn’t come easily to every student.  Not only do you need tons of practice, but being positive in your own self-talk (as well as positive encouragement from others) goes a long way.

Positive affirmations are phrases you repeat to influence yourself into believing what you want to be and what you want to be able to do. These phrases help you overcome sabotaging negative thoughts, and even poor performances in what you are trying to do. The more you repeat your positive affirmations, the more of a positive change you will make. You may think it is unrealistic, but once you start to feed the “positive dog”, magical things tend to happen!

Being a PE teacher, I see that many students are exposed to different skillsets in which they don’t have a natural ability. This is where I tend to teach my students how welcoming positive affirmations are. My goal is to build students’ self-esteem through regulating their emotions and having self-awareness. My students understand that they are super heroes and they can do anything they believe in. Every Phy-Ed class, we have a quote or phrase that we embrace for the lesson. These phrases are our positive affirmations!

“I will thrive”, “We get to”, and “I can do this”, are some of the phrases you will hear my students say as they are learning the skills for the day.  My students not only believe in themselves, but they believe in each other and support one another through the challenges of the lessons. 

There is nothing more pleasant than seeing students struggle, but not give up because they keep feeding the “positive dog” with their affirmations. I love having students work together because they influence one another to reach the outcome and objective. When you are teaching your lesson and hear someone say “you thrived” and/or “you did it”, this makes me feel great, as the teacher, for having a warm class culture of supporting one another – and even more importantily, it makes the individual students feel great. The person supporting someone and acknowledging their classmate, as well as the studentwho completed the task, both now have a self-esteem boost from those few words of encouragement. 

Positive affirmations have made a huge impact not only for my students, but for myself in my personal life. I came across Inspired Minds and knew this would be a perfect addition to my phrases that we already use in my PE class. Positive minds has 30 different phrases that promote social-emotional learning, inclusion and growth mindset. I am very thankful for what the company does to keep my students’ spirits and belief in themselves high!  

I highly recommend embedding positive affirmations into all your lessons. These warm, positive phrases boost your mental wellbeing and will lead you to visualizing success, which ultimately will be fulfilled. The next time you are struggling with something, just smile and feed that “positive dog.”

About the Author

Gustave KaragrozisMy name is Gustave Karagrozis. I grew up on Long Island in New York. I studied Physical Education at SUNY Cortland and then pursued my Masters in HPER at Emporia University. I teach for NYC DOE. It is my 6th year divided between two different schools. I spent three years at PS123 in Harlem, NY and currently at PS133 in Bellerose, NY. I have taught K-8, but am currently focused on teaching K-2.  I am super passionate about Green Screening to enhance my students engagement and creating GIFs to help teach skills. Some of my hobbies are Pickleball, Volleyball, Cornhole and swinging Kettlebells. 

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