Thursday, February 25, 2016

How I Stay Positive {and you can too}!

Our profession is HARD!  There's just no denying that teaching is stressful, heart wrenching {at times} and tiring - emotionally, physically and intellectually.  Sometimes you just want to throw in the towel.  

I don't want you to think I'm Miss Polly Perfect and that I walk around my classroom with twinkle toes and happy dust every minute of the day.

I'm overwhelmed too.  I cry over my strugglers.  I worry about my kids who need to be challenged. I feel buried under data.  I get frustrated with legislators who seem to have it all figured out and know just what our profession needs.   I feel torn in every single direction.  

But something happened to me.  I don't know when, actually - I just know it happened. I'm positive more than I'm negative.  I'm happy more than I'm sad. I love what I do more than I don't.

And I want you to feel that way too.

So, how did it happen?  

What did I do?

I found my tribe.

I did, I found this wonderful group of teachers all over social media.  You might call them teacher-nerds {my 8th grade son does} and to that, I say, thank you.  Nail hit right on the head.  So instead of posting article after article of how teachers are being mistreated {I did that}, reading articles about this teacher who threw in the towel and why she did {I read those}, and seeking out memes about how hard teachers work and how devalued we are {because I did} I found a tribe of people who  focus on the good that can still be found in this admirable profession of ours and because they do -
- so can I.

I found my locus of control.

I was so focused on what was going wrong in teaching.  I was consumed by it.  I was living in the past rather than embracing what good still exists in my today. I was stuck in mourning the glory days when supplies closets were full {ish}, teachers were respected and left to work our magic.  So, I decided if I can't directly change the negative that might exist outside of my ability to impact - than I won't worry about it {Or TRY really hard not to}.  Won't give it psychological air.  In a nutshell - I'm learning to just brush it off.  Sounds so simple. Right? It's hard - but I'm doing it more often...
... than I'm not.

I found my why.

Or maybe I should say, I remembered my why.  I teach because I love kids and I care about their future.  Our future.  It's really that simple.  So, I work REALLY hard to remember that.  Sometimes I'll even whisper to myself "Remember your why, remember your why, remember your why"...

I found my spirituality.

So, this might not be your bag - and that's cool.  The best gift I received for Mother's Day one year was satellite radio.  On my way to work I listen to Joel Osteen and again on my way home.  I pray constantly asking for help during my school day.   Works for me.  Keeps me positive and hopeful.

I found what I say really impacts how I feel.

I have this hidden in my date book and I start my day off by looking at it and peek at it every now and then; just as a reminder that what I say matters so put it out there...into the world, and you're likely to see it come right back at ya.

So, while griping and grumping might feel good at the time - I started to see myself living in that place of discontent.  Once I set that guard over my mouth - and chose to focus more on the positive rather than the negative in my life or in our profession - I started to see that I was better able to just deal.  I'm not even kidding. I know it sounds like a bunch of hooey - but it's true.  I mean, I didn't realize how true it was until I just started doing it and then all of a sudden I noticed that I wasn't on edge as much as I used to be and I can only surmise it's because of this.

And everything else.

So, while staying positive takes a concerted effort on my part. It's worth it to try.

I still have my moments.

I still grumble and mumble over this or that.

I still, occasionally, drag my feet on Sunday at the thought of a Monday.

But teaching is my jam.

I know it's yours too - you wouldn't be in the classroom if it wasn't.

You can find your smile.

I know you can.

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