Thursday, September 27, 2012

Don't Worry, Be Happy

I have taken a few days away from the blog, because, quite honestly, I haven't been very positive lately.  Kind of a 'crash and burn' after the first three weeks of happy, smiling, days.  The higher you climb, the harder you fall kind of action in play.  And I did fall.  Suddenly, the classroom full of anxious, excited, mannerly eight year olds looked more like   an unruly crowd of hyperactive, talkative kids. All at once, getting up at 5:45 a.m. in the morning, picking out nice clothes, blow drying my hair, applying make-up (and all the other stuff you don't have to do so early in the morning in the summer) seemed painful.  In the blink of an eye, the paperwork seemed overwhelming.

Bottom line - I was becoming irritable and not very positive.  I knew something had to be done.  I had promised myself that this was going to be a year of mind over matter -  being and staying in a positive frame of mind.  How could I possibly be such a failure as to not be able to keep with this goal for more than three weeks?  Yikes.  

So first I tried to think of some little things that would make me feel more positive and happy.  Things like having no school on Wednesday.   It was almost October.  The weather was getting cooler and the leaves were changing.  That worked for a few minutes. 

Next, I put a poll on the blog to see if other teachers were still feeling positive this year.  Results showed that 66% of teachers that responded are feeling more positive every day.  And nobody answered "not so much".  That should help make me feel better, right?  And then I saw only nine people responded to the poll.  So then I started moping around the house thinking nobody reads this blog anyway.  It didn't help that my husband told me he responded to the poll.  He's not a teacher.  Then he told me that he's feeling more positive this school year because I'M more positive.

Finally, I decided to take it the kids.  Since they always seem so positive, I figure they must know something I don't.  Sure they don't have bills to pay, a job,  and the heavy weight of being an adult on their shoulders, but they deal with their own little kid things every day.  I'm sure some playground issues rival problems of some adults.  And they are usually smiling.  And so I asked them, "How many of you are feeling happy and positive today?"   As you might guess twenty-one out of twenty-two hands shot into the air.  Most had big smiles on their faces. 

I zeroed in on the insubordinate.  "Well," I asked.  "How about you?"   
He froze.  Clearly he had been paying no attention and was somewhere off in his happy place.  He had a 50/50 chance of responding the way he thought I wanted.  Thankfully, his little friend across the room was shaking his head quite vigorously up and down. 

"Yes!" he exclaimed, as he breathed a sigh of relief.

100% happy, positive feeling kids.
But this wasn't going to help. Simply asking little kids if they are feeling positive is like asking teachers if they like summer.  What to do?   So I continued.
"I'd like you to take some time and think about what makes you happy and positive about your day."

The responses were mostly what you'd expect from 3rd graders.  Honest.  And simple. They are happy and positive because they don't worry about the little things.  They do what they are supposed to do.  They try to be nice to everybody.    And it worked.  I grabbed onto the idea that I need to worry less and be happy more.   I'm gonna give it a try anyway and see if it sticks. 

 I think Bobby McFerrin said it best.              CLICK HERE


  1. I didn't respond to your poll, because I'm not teaching, but I use your blog to help me to remember to be positive at home, and on the few days I teach preschool...

    I'm sure your positive attitude will help you and the kids have a much better year than if you give in to the negativity! You can do it! :)

  2. You did it again Jeppson. You made me chuckle. I love your little antecdotes from the classroom. The part about your husband taking the poll was hilarious too. And, I've got something for you to be positive about tomorrow. It's breakfast club day. And jeans day. That will put a smile on your face.

  3. Just so you know, I actually did laugh OUT LOUD when I read the part about the kid in his own happy place!

  4. So happy to see the video you attached because my motto has forever been "Don't worry, Be Happy," and my husband often sneers, "Oh YES, PollyAnna, just smile and our troubles will all go away!" And they do--- for me! But, I think that makes him all the more angry! However, there is veritable proof that "Mind over Matter" generates a tremendous possibilty of otherwise improbabilites, and I persist in believing that the half empty glass still has half a glass of wine... and this, my friend is the ever reflecting emphasis on the positive. Keep looking on the bright side! It IS there!

  5. I love it! I too have been discouraged this week. Just reading it helped lift my spirits and get me back in the saddle.