Friday, November 16, 2012

New Box of Crayons

This week has been one of the busiest yet of the school year.   We started the week on Monday with our surprise power fail, which earned us all a free afternoon off. I was so thankful for that time, as I had spent hours over the weekend preparing conference folders and organizing for conferences.  I was a tad bitter that I had to devote so much of my free time over the weekend working, but I applied my recently acquired powers of positivity to help prevent a total mood funk.  Instead of doing anything productive with my afternoon off, I relaxed and spent the afternoon in total peace and quiet.  It was heavenly.  

Tuesday night was spent teaching/talking all day and then talking (and teaching a bit) during three straight hours of parent-teacher conferences. Repeat above sentence and insert [Wednesday night] for Tuesday night.

 All this happened to be timed just at the exact time my husband was out of town for the week on business, so it made things a bit more difficult for me.  I always empathize with my teacher friends when we have evening school activities to attend (or conferences).  I was a single parent for many years and I feel their pain.  Many of them have young children and being away from home at night isn't easy for them.  My one and only baby is now twenty-two, graduated from college and living in another state but I still need to hurry home each day for my dog.  Yes, I said dog.  She's a small little poodle, twelve years old who spends almost nine hours home alone every day.  During those nine hours, she probably sleeps 8.75 of them so, needless to say, when I arrive home she is eager to play and needs lots of attention.  And like having young children, I have to make sure someone is there to take care of her if I won't be home after school. 

Just when I should have been over the "hump" of the week, Thursday morning arrives and I have a meeting with some fellow teachers from my building to see The Disney Institute present how Disney is able to provide great customer service and be such a happy place.  After all, who knows positivity better than Disney?   The speakers were entertaining and they relayed lots of interesting information about Walt Disney and the whole Disney experience and approach, the power of creativity and collaboration and listening to all ideas.  

Here are my notes:

      Coloring inside the lines (as in when we move from just coloring on a blank page to stifling our creativity when we color within lines)
      Improv (I'll be honest, I wasn't paying close attention here, but I thought the whole idea of improv might be cool to try with my class)
      No bad ideas ( every idea is a good one until the finance people and human resources department put the kabash on most of it)
      Box of new crayons (the look, the joy!  He also said a crayon is one of the top 20 recognizable smells)
      Know your box (if you're in it know what it is and what's outside of it)
      Why are you saying no? (Try yes!  We are used to saying no)
      Edutainment  [chuckle]  education + entertainment.  Think: Epcot Center
What I should have "won"
      What do they want? (give people what they want or they won't come back)

I was extremely motivated to get one of the little random trinkets (Disney characters, of course) that the presenter was giving out.  He seemed to be giving them to everybody that raised their hand and shouted out an idea, however, he apparently didn't like mine because it was an epic fail and I didn't get one.  I was thinking it would look great on my blog.  So much for "no bad ideas". 

All in all the morning was interesting and I felt it fit in nicely with my general philosophy:  Change is good. Which I guess should now be modified to: Positivity is good.

In addition each morning this week, I've been conferencing with the one or two parents who prefer early morning conferences and/or parents who stood me up for their evening conference.   It always burns me a bit that a parent(s) will just not show up.  No call.  No email.  Nothing.  As a professional, I feel my time is very valuable, especially when those hours occur outside of the school day.  Now this isn't to say that things can come up and cancellations are necessary.  I completely understand when a parent calls to reschedule.  Add to that the fact that I am 100% a morning person, keeping positive in these events is quite difficult.  I usually moan and groan and complain to anyone within a 1/2 mile radius about being stood up.  I even seek out other teachers to complain and, many times, compare our misery.  

Teacher 1:  "I had one stand me up last night."
Teacher 2:  "Well, I had two stand me up last night."
Teacher 3:  "Oh that's nothing.  I had one stand me up that was signed up in the very last slot!"  
Touche'!  You win!

Then along comes Friday.  For some unbeknownst reason, I thought Friday of this week would be the perfect time for my first formal observation of the year by my principal.  Yeah... right.   There's two obvious things wrong with that scenario.  #1, it's a Friday just before the Thanksgiving break.  #2, it's a Friday of the week where I've already worked 50+ hours and the positivity meter is registering rather low.  Thank goodness I have a class that is just short of spectacular!

Well, long story short -- you can probably put yourself in my place right now and guess how positive my mood is now that this week is over!  It's Friday night and I can sit back, relax, reflect on the week, and look ahead to our short two-day week next week and the impending Thanksgiving break.  

There are some things I've learned this week.  I've noticed that I didn't become less positive this week from the stress, anxiety and pressure.  I'm finding I just become more quiet.   I didn't run to vent, complain, and whine so much.  I just dealt.  Two teachers helped me out this week and I thank them.  One sent a little funny gift down with a student.  The other gave me back the positivity coffee mug I gave to her when she was looking for a boost.  Both of these things helped me immensely.  I needed it this week. In addition, I had a Mickey Mouse balloon tied outside my doorway.....   super!

I think I'll open up that new box of crayons I sat out on my desk to remind me about creativity and a blank page. And I'm gonna see what I can create. 


  1. Your dog sleeps away the day awaiting your return as she dreams of the walk, play and adventure that is sure to happen at the end of your busy, positive day. You are her idol, her heart throb, her meaning for living. How great that after a hectic, exhausting, albeit positive day with 8 year olds, you are the person who makes living worthwhile! Your blog too is fodder for perseverance! Thanks!

  2. I still can't believe you signed up for your observation on THAT Friday... but now I'm jealous because you are DONE! Good positive planning!