I worked for many years coaching new teachers. As they worked through their first two years of teaching and were working on clearing their credentials, we met weekly. New teachers are some of my favorite people to work with, and probably why I was so drawn to resilience work in the first place!
I remember years ago when I first heard this marigold story. I thought to myself YES, go find your marigold! The Cult of Pedagogy wrote a wonderful blog, Find Your Marigold: The One Essential Rule for New Teachers, that talks about the marigold effect and the idea of companion planting. Her one essential rule to follow is surround yourself with good people.
This is such an important rule for our new teachers as unfortunately our schools often have some pockets of toxicity. Elena Aguilar makes the case for this in Chapter 4 of Onward when she shares how strong communities retain educators. She summarizes the research on the topic of resilience and community: You cannot thrive unless you’re in healthy relationships. The resilient surround themselves with supportive friends and family and are in relationships characterized by mutual trust and empathy.
So if you are a teacher, find your marigolds. And if you are a leader or coach support the emotional well being of your teachers to help them thrive. And if you find yourself surrounded by walnuts, remember our Onward mantra for this month: I surround myself with with loving people. I can choose the people I allow into my life. I choose to surround myself with people who make me better.