It wasn’t long ago that I was introduced to this: You can get bitter about it or you can get better.
Immediately, my mind traveled to education and my position as a teacher. So many times I have been faced with something challenging, unnecessary or down right negative. And let’s face it, it is easy to get bitter about it. Another initiative? Another difficult parent? Another negative conversation in the teachers’ room? More paperwork? More meetings?
Often I find myself (and other colleagues whether they are face to face or online) questioning why we have to face these battles each day? These things become part of our job, part of what we do. We are so much more than teachers. We are record keepers, PR communicators, mentors, councilors and nurses – a jack of all trades and yet we need to be masters of all of them!
So – we can be bitter about the uphills we have to face.
Or – we can get better at what we do.
It’s easy to be bitter. Getting better takes work.
One of my favorite lines in the great movie Shawshank Redemption is when Andrew says to his prison comrade, “You can get busy living, or you can get busy dying.” At that moment in the movie, you think he has given up, feeling defeated by the system. You even think he may be ready to take his own life. But instead he has made up his mind to fight – fight with all he has to better his life and live it to the fullest.
So is the same in education (and a great many other fields out there, I’m sure). We can give up and get sucked into that negativity or we can make up our own minds to better our teaching and do it to the fullest.
No one reading this got into education because they thought it was an easy job. (If you did, what in the world were you thinking, man???) We all want to make a difference, to do something great for children, for young adults, for the future. You can’t do that with a bitter feeling in your heart.
As we start up the month of May and focus on teachers here at The Inspired Classroom, I encourage you to look at yourself, as I will myself and see what things you can do to make your teaching better. Not easier – better!
Here is what I’m going to do:
1. Smile – Yep, smile. There are studies that show smiling makes you feel better and we all know that smiling is contagious. Imagine what would happen if I really made an effort to smile at my colleagues and students each morning and throughout the day?
2. Correct papers – I already do this, really I do, but sometimes the pile gets forgotten and by the time I get to it, the results are meaningless. I would like to make a point to correct papers in a more timely fashion so that the data I can collect from them is used immediately.
3. Be Inspiring – I want to do something with my students that will inspire them somehow. Sometimes, all it takes is giving students the freedom to do something creative to put a smile on your own face. Consider conducting a Studio Day.
4. Stay Positive – Down with the negative feelings and talk. While remaining realistic, we need to stay positive and hopeful about what we are doing each day. My friend, Melissa Edwards over at Figuring Out How the Pieces Fit chose Positive as her One Word for 2013. It’s something that you can fit into all aspects of your life, including teaching.
5. Find a way to collaborate – Doing something together with a friend and/or colleague can make life a little more enjoyable at work. I will consider planning a lesson or unit together or plan to combine classes for a fun activity. Changing the setting and working together will help my mood and that of my students.
As the school year progresses, I hope to consider how I can become better at what I do and worthy of appreciation from my admin, parents and students. What might you do?