Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I've Fallen And I Can't Get Up

I can't quite put my finger on it, but this has been a rough year as far as keeping a positive attitude.  Last year at this time, I was still smiling every day, happy-go-lucky,
blogging my brains out with sappy, optimistic posts of life in a 3rd grade classroom.  Any non-teachers reading would have wanted to quit their job and go back to school to get their teaching certificate pronto so they could have as much fun as I was every day. 

Last year, at this time,I had to actually choose which story I was going to write about each day as there were countless positive moments throughout the day that I kept track of for later blogging.  I responded to each and every teacher's greeting in the hallway with a vibrant, "I'm great!  How are you?" as I bounded down the hallway.  And I meant it.

Honestly, this year every morning as I drive to school, I complete a checklist in my brain of positive thoughts in an attempt to put myself into a happy frame of mind.  It usually goes something like this:

Today is going to be a great day. I work with fun people.  I have a great family and friends.    My class has wonderful little boys and girls who look to me every day to teach them, take care of them, and encourage them.  My mood will become their mood so I owe it to them to be positive and happy.  Forget about the little things.  Don't let all the BS be so overwhelming.  Live in the moment. Be happy for all you have.   

It works for a while.  I greet the students in the hallway and quickly put out a few "issues", and hang up several coats, as I herd them into the classroom.  I smile and welcome them and tell them we are going to have a fabulous day of learning as I review the daily schedule on the board.  Everything seems right on track to be a positive day.

Usually it's just after lunchtime that I begin to feel the slide.  Instead of joking back with a shouter-outer during social studies, I'm more terse and demand more focus.  Their silliness catches like fire around the room many days and I spend way too much time trying to contain some of them.  It's utterly, completely, 100% exhausting.  There are twenty-four of them and one of me.  

I'm only human.  Sometimes I lose my patience.  Sometimes my replies to them are short and clipped. Sometimes I make them do it over.   Sometimes I refuse to repeat the directions for the fifth time. Sometimes I just want to sit down at my desk and put my head down and not have to do anything.  

I've been searching high and low for the cure for this more negative attitude.  But I know deep down, it's not the kids.  It's not all the issues happening around the state with education.  It's not the lack of respect for my profession or the incredible amount of paper work. It's not the extra hours of work at home or the testing, testing, testing.  

It's me. 

Last year I told myself I was going to have a very positive year and look on the bright side.  And it worked.  I guess this year I've lost my focus.  

But no matter what it takes, I will find it again and get back on track.  So if you see me in the hallway, please give me a reminder of the reason teachers do what they do every day.

Smile.  And just give me a minute while I get back up.

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