Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cure for a Challenging Day

As a new teacher, I am already learning about the importance of monitoring my stress level.  I've had a very challenging week personally and both my classes plucked my last nerve on Friday.  I don't know if it was because it was Friday or somehow they picked up on my tension or if I just was in no place to be patient, but it was all I could to not just walk out of that school and never came back.  I ended up writing one referral (after all other strategies in the previous post failed) and then called the student's mother. For me, there is no satisfaction in writing a referral.  Even though sometimes it is unavoidable, it makes me feel disheartened for a student to have gotten to that level.

So, as I sat at my desk Friday afternoon, I made two decisions that radically improved my mood.  The first thing I did, was to type up sub plans and I'm calling in sick on Monday--a much needed "mental health day".  I have been assured by other teachers that these days are essential and that is why we get so many of them (10 per year, plus 2 personal days).  

The other thing I did, was more immediately satisfying and really goes back to the heart of why I want to teach in the first place.  After hanging up with the parent of the child who I referred, I called the parents of four kids in my classes who really work hard and do not create trouble.  I told their parents how much I appreciated them, how proud they should be and thanked them for doing such a good job.  It was awesome and I've decided to make these calls more often.  The bottom line is, the ones who work hard often are overlooked in the drama created by the ones who do not.  In teaching, just as in life, it is important to not let the dark cloud of the negative shadow the brilliantly shining sun of the positive. 

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