So, it’s the beginning of July and I just set my alarm clock for 5:00 am. Most teachers just read that statement and cringed! But, I’m a teacher at a year round school and that means the year resets in July. Don’t worry, though. I LOVE teaching at a year round school. I get breaks every nine weeks and so do the kids! However, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a tiny bit of vacation envy every time I see beach posts on Facebook.
I love starting a new school year. It’s cheesy, I know, but I love the new bulletin boards, fresh school supplies, and the millions of ideas buzzing through the building. Even after 18+ years of teaching, I still love going to the store and buying a new planner for school and decorating my room for the students. I also love buying the teachers small “Back to School” treats and delivering them on the first day of school. At the beginning of the year, the possibilities seem endless. Teachers have a pep in their step and students all have back to school outfits and big smiles when they walk in the building. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself what causes this euphoria during the back to school season? Is it the fresh start? What causes such a spark at the beginning of the year?
Fast forward to October. Momentum starts to slow down a tad. Students begin to lose homework, teachers take more “sick” days, and the days seem to pile one on top of the other. Again, why is this? Is it because teachers AND students are over-worked? Is it because we are approaching the holidays and getting cabin fever?
Now fast forward again to February. Whew. This is a tough time in the school year. The days are short but the work load seems longer than ever. Flu season hits and we all seem to be hanging on by a thread.If you thought winter was rough, think back to last May. There is no tired like end of year teacher tired. Testing, grades, parent conferences, paper work, and exhausted kiddos. This can be a lethal combination for a teacher. What happened to the pep in your step?
I have a theory.
I believe the reason this happens is because teachers burn the candle at both ends for 180 school days plus work days, weekends, and late nights. I’m not arguing that teachers work harder than other professionals. But what I am saying is that teachers are not only working in the classroom but also in their hearts and heads. Non-stop.
Let me ask you a question. Have you ever had an idea about school in the middle of the night and because you were so excited, couldn’t sleep (and probably got up to work on it)? Have you ever been in a store and seen something that makes you think of a student? Do you do school work on the weekends? Do you read professional books in the summer? Can your significant other name most of your students because you talk about them at home? I bet I know the answer. Teachers are hard workers. They are passionate about their craft. Teachers love teaching. Because we are such passionate professionals, we work at full speed, as hard as we can, everyday.
So how do we extend that beginning of the year feeling and stay positive all the way until the last day of school? To be honest, I don’t know. There will be rough days. There will be days that you feel defeated. However, I do believe it all boils down to mind-set. This year, I am choosing to be positive and stay focused on the big picture. The kids.
On those days when I feel a gripe session coming on, instead of complaining and spending a lot of energy being negative. I will choose to remain focused on the positive.
On the days when a colleague comes to me in a state of negativity as mentioned above, I will once again, choose to focus on the positive as well as help them regain focus, too.
On the days when lessons, meetings, trainings, or conferences don’t go as planned. I am going to choose to focus on the positive.
Sounds kind of Pollyanna, right? I don’t mean to say I’ll never have a bad day or complain. What I do mean is that I will rise above the negativity and remain positive. I will do it for the students, teachers, parents, and staff who count on me. I will do it because one nasty comment can undo months of relationship building. I will do it because it’s not about me. It’s ultimately about the kids.
Let’s make this a great year for our students!