It is no secret that teaching can be a challenging job. There are days I leave feeling drained, unsuccessful, and if I am being completely honest like I failed my students for that day. If they struggle I take it personally, if they succeed I take it personally. Either way I feel it to my core. These are my kids and I care deeply about their success.
A few Fridays ago was one of those days. It was a tough day all around. I found myself feeling exasperated and my students were clearly frustrated with my continual redirection of their behavior. Was it the worst day in teaching that I’ve ever had? No, not by a long shot. It was just one of those days were I left feeling melancholy about how the day had gone and I worried that my students had too.
I reflected quite a bit over the weekend about what I could have done different. How I could have provided better support to my students, explained my expectations more clearly, and reminded myself that Friday afternoon at 1:15 is probably not the best time to dive into new learning, especially a lesson on study skills. This reflection also lead me down a rabbit hole of insecurities about my abilities as a teacher.
I walked into my classroom the following Monday, hopeful for a better day, yet still clinging to the insecurities I had dug up during my rumination. As I flipped on the lights the picture below was the first thing in my line of sight.
I love the message it conveys because it is one that I try to impart to my students daily. I remind them that that there may be times when they are frustrated, unhappy, mad, or even feel like a failure. Yet, every minute is a new minute, every hour is a new hour, every day is a new day. They can always make the choice to self-reflect, make a change, choose a new perspective. I’ve even been known to sing, “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”, some afternoons as my students leave, to remind them of this message.
So on that Monday morning when this picture came into view I was reminded that I must live what I teach:
- Mistakes are a good thing and allow us to learn.
- My perspective is my reality and sometimes I just need to walk off the escalator.
- There is always a new minute, a new hour, and a new day.
Most importantly, I was reminded that I need to extend to myself the same grace that I extend to my students. I am not a perfect teacher, but no one is. Yet, I work really hard to keep things positive and student centered. I self-reflect on ways that I can improve and most importantly I care.