My 6th graders earned a "shaving cream party" during the last 15 minutes of class for displaying excellent behavior all week. I wish you could see their faces; it is PURE joy.
First, I hope you never, ever, have a bad day.
Second, it is likely you'll have a few.
I had a really bad day today at school. While I have "up" days and "down" days, it is rare for me to have a really bad day. . . Which is to say, when I do have a bad day; it is distressing to me.
Here is my secret for you: When you are having a bad day; it is usually because you chose to see it that way. Of course, this doesn't apply to crisis situations or a scary diagnosis etc. But, if you have a generally bad day, it is probably time to reflect.
I was mostly having a bad day because the kids "were off the chain" today. So, I spent a bit of time thinking about what it was about them that bothered me so much:
- they talk when I talk (fixable situation; try different behavior management strategies)
- they don't listen to directions, and then want me to walk them through the project step-by-step, one-on-one (Dude. At least they WANT to learn! Probably fixable with a different behavior management strategy)
- when the 6th graders got to do their incentive activity they ran around and acted totally insane! (that insanity was pure sensory joy. What did I think was going to happen when you gave them shaving cream?!)
See, what I'm talking about? When you reflect, you give yourself time to understand that what seems so negative, is in reality, a manageable situation.
I came home and found this terrific video (above) about the community of Burning Man. I'm not a Burner, and probably never will be. But, I am fascinated and really appreciate the concepts, art, and passion of Burning Man. And, I really appreciate many of the ideas Halcyon (the video author) shares. I especially like, and needed to hear, these quotes:
"I think the gifting principle is about giving of yourself and being open to others in the moment. And sharing freely without the expectation of return. Sometimes, that's stuff. Sometimes, it's an act."
"We meet with the limited-resource people of our community. Not because we think 'Oh, they need help, let's get them to where we are.' It's more 'Oh, we're from a theme camp that has a bunch of stuff. You're from a theme camp that is living in the street. So let's gift [you] some extra stuff we have!' And, more importantly, let's just be present with these people; this theme camp that is, maybe, a little different than us."
"There [are] always obstacles. But, if you stop seeing them as obstacles and just go 'That is just the task at hand. That is just what you need to do in that moment. . . These are not the things that are in the way of the experience, these are the experience."
As teachers, we are always gifting of ourselves to our students; it is our life choice. I especially needed to be reminded today my chosen profession is a gift to children and I need to focus on sharing joy over negativity. More importantly, I need to be more present and in the moment with my students. Based on their behavior and statements, my class is the only time they feel nurtured and/or have the opportunity to authentically express themselves. Regardless of how they act, I should hold this more sacred.
This is my process for handling bad moods; reflect and process. . . I usually do a bit of inspirational reading/viewing too. It always works. I hope you enjoy the video, and let me know what you do to turn around a bad day.