Working Hard to Get My Fill…*

With one week of work left before Christmas Break, I’m determined to not only make it through the week alive, but (gasp) enjoy it with purpose.  When I worked at my old school (shout out Los Alisos), it was easy to stay positive because I was surrounded by positive, encouraging people. We all had our moments, but we all helped each other focus on what mattered. I am no longer in that situation and sometimes find it exhausting to try and “stay positive” by myself. Er, not entirely by myself…there are a few likeminded individuals at my current workplace. 🙂

How will she do it? You may be asking.  Let me assure you, you aren’t the only one asking how will she do it…since she has been struggling to do much of anything besides make it through the day.

One word. Focus.

Often, with my students who feel defeated because their grades and/or behavior don’t seem to be improving, I give them one focus at a time for a given period.  One thing is easier for them to handle and then when they do it, they feel a sense of accomplishment.  Being specific is also important; it’s one thing to say “I’ll have a good week.” It’s another to say, “I will be encouraging today.” Since it is a long week and I am not a 4th grader, I am giving myself not necessarily one focus, but several. I shy away from calling it a “list” since the connotation is something I HAVE to do. I don’t want this to be something I must do, but something I want to do. Something I will do.

So, without further adieu (I love that word):

My “I Wills…”

1. I will focus on my student’s good qualities and the fact that they are 9 year old children who need to be loved.

2. I will maintain composure if a student shouts out “This be janked” this week (don’t ask).

3. I will submit more than one query to a literary agent. I’ve been putting it off for too long and for no other reason than fear of getting rejected again. Silliness. I would’t accept that answer from a student, so why from myself?

4. I will listen to happy music while doing mundane tasks. The more danceable, the better. 60’s/70’s music, I’m about to bust you out.  That’s right, Electric Light Orchestra, Jackson 5 and Mama Cass…this means you.

5. I will be the first person to smile and say Good Morning to someone.

6. I will be mindful of why I hung a mezuzah on my doorpost in the first place: as a remembrance to live my life a certain way, both in public and in private.

7. Extra Credit if…I will get lost in the crazy, make believe world of my book by beginning Part 2.  This may be a Christmas Break I will since I write best at around 2 am.

This may seem trite to anyone reading, but it isn’t for me.  I almost didn’t even post it since it’s a little more “personal” than I usually do on Vintage Pencils. But, as a teacher, I know that if we don’t set a focus, set an objective(and share them with others), we may never really accomplish and grow the way we want to.   My job sucks right now and that’s a fact. Short of quitting, it’s not going to change…but my attitude needs a readjustment.  My job sucks: but life doesn’t. My Sunday I Will’s is just a way for me to attempt to keep my focus on that.

Does anyone else ever do this? If not, do one with me and we’ll see how it goes at the end of the week!

*I may or may not have been listening to Glee’s version of “Don’t Stop Believin” as I was brainstorming this evening.

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2 thoughts on “Working Hard to Get My Fill…*

  1. Oh!! I’m so sorry to hear about your job situation! I make lists and small objectives all the time, especially if I’m enduring physical pain. Like last week as I stood at a counter ALL day buying books from students burned out from finals. My back and feet were killing me, but I had resolved to give each person a compliment and be understanding of the hectic life a student leads (even though I would kill to have that life back right now). Can’t wait for part 2 and to see what goes down with Emma!

  2. Oh. I’m sorry. I know how hard it is when school isn’t going well. Your “I will” list is probably the best thing you can do; so much of life is beyond your control (especially at school!) so taking back what you can control will hopefully make a difference.

    I remember feeling the same way three years ago; it was by far my worst year. Bad classes, bad schedule, bad support. I would listen to Beautiful Day by U2 every day on my way home. I don’t even like that song but the message helped to calm me down after a bad day. Really, whatever you need to do to get through this year is okay.

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