What on earth was it that had me feeling crabby, cranky, and just irritable today? I tried to figure it out. In fact, I tried to alter my mood several times throughout the day today. This year, I've been able to snap myself out of the negative and get back into a sunnier disposition. But not today. No matter what I did, I ended up crabbier. This isn't good. Especially when you work with little eight and nine year olds that count on you. When you're happy, they're happy. And when you're crabby.... well..... you know what that means.
You'd have thought that my not-so-great-mood would have lightened when I told the class at 9:05 today that I didn't have to go to a meeting this morning. They smiled and a couple squealed out with happiness. Two little darlings even clapped.
"I like it when you're here," explained one little sweetie. "It's always better when you are here."
Awwwwwww..... I know. Should have worked, right?
Throughout the morning, I repeated directions, refereed disagreements, waited patiently when it became too talkative, and listened to stories about the weekend fun. I rushed to the copier, and the bathroom, and organized for the afternoon. I mentally reminded myself that it is mind over matter. But, it simply wasn't working today.
I couldn't get the computer program to work in computer lab. I dropped an entire set of carefully sorted journals on the floor. I looked for some place value math manipulatives for fifteen minutes and couldn't find them. By lunch time, I couldn't see my desk as it was covered with papers and assorted things to do, take care of, look at, file, or get rid of. I knew my night ahead would include a couple of hours of work. When I clicked on my email and saw thirty-two unread messages, I scanned it quickly for parent names (in case of an urgent email), and when I didn't see any, immediately closed out of it.
And then at 1:10 the speaker in our room declared that we were in lock down mode.
Eighteen little boys and little girls stopped everything they were doing and looked at me.
"OK, class. We need to get over by the cabinets and sit quietly on the floor. Please move quickly," I informed them.
Eighteen kids moved like one over to the cabinets and sat quietly on the floor. I rushed around turning off the lights, computer screen, and locked the classroom door. I sat down on the floor next to them. Silence.
I whispered, "You are all fabulous! You are so quiet and so fast. Now we are just going to sit here quietly and wait for [principal's name] to let us know when we can get back to work. We're all safe and everything is o.k. We are practicing like when we have fire drills and tornado drills. I know you have questions so I'll answer them when we are done."
For nearly twenty minutes we sat huddled together, quiet except for a few whispers. Most times the kids were looking at me.
"Did you lock the door?" one vigilant little one whispered, wide-eyed.
I held my finger up, key dangling. We all smiled.
Of course, today I thought again of Sandy Hook. I thought of the courageous teachers and the brave students. I thought of the immense fear they must have felt. Even knowing that it was just a drill today, it was eerie.
And, like the wind blowing away a pile of leaves, my mood lightened. Not completely, mind you, but enough. Enough to enjoy the remainder of the day more. Enough to smile and laugh with the kids again. Enough to realize that life is too short to not appreciate every little minute.
I know I'll have more not-so-positive days in the year ahead. But I'll keep trying to find ways to make them as positive as I can. To not dwell in the negative but live in the positive. And the times that I can't help it, I'll just wait for it to pass, try not to take it out on anyone else, and forgive myself.
After all, we're only human.