Want to laugh? I was looking for some motivation to keep chugging along until spring break and I came across a pretty good article. Here's the funny part - I wrote it! I was a guest author over at Effective Teaching Articles almost two years ago with the following post. I'm reposting it today (edited just a little) just in case you might need a little boost right about now, too.
For generations, kids have been uttering the same phrases that instantly raise the blood pressure of their teachers. Do any of these sound familiar: How much longer till lunch? When are we going to recess? Is this on the test? Do we have to write the questions?
Well, one of my high school teachers had a great response for the classic “When will we ever use this?” He hung a giant handmade banner above the side board that read “Right here, Right now!” which he would forcefully point to the first time an unsuspecting freshman would inevitably ask that question. I wonder if he just got so sick of hearing it one day that he ran to the supply room, grabbed some banner paper and scrawled out what became his signature phrase all the while muttering, “When? When? I’ll TELL you when!” Looking back, I imagine he got some sort of secret joy from hearing that query from that day on. Way to turn it around Mr. Sanders.
Actually, he might have been on to something in his own way. It’s no secret that these are some tough times for teachers. Current circumstances across the country have put us in the position of defending our practices, advocating for our profession, spending more and earning less, while still giving it all we’ve got when we’re in the classroom. It is maddening, heartbreaking, depressing and confusing. I never imagined the day I would be actively seeking out another profession, and yet that’s exactly where I found myself. That was my rock bottom. I had to make a change. I had to find a way to cope, like Mr. Sanders and his banner.
I created my own self-help program that I was determined to follow. Either that, or I was going to have to find another career, because I just could not continue to live in such emotional turmoil every. single. day. I chose to be happy. Even when it was easier to be sad or frustrated.
The first thing I committed to was not reading any comments after online news articles related to education. I slipped a few times on that one, but each time I regretted it instantly and now I’m able to resist about 95% of the time.
Next up, I found some amazing, inspiring educators and education advocates to follow on Twitter and Facebook. That has been a great way to stay informed without the bias and sway of public opinion. I've found some of my personal go-to blogs that I can always trust to brighten up my mood or get me motivated again. I pop on to Pinterest and see all the awesome things that people are doing and I get inspired to do some of them myself. I also have a Pinterest board that I use to collect things that just make me laugh. I have kind of a sarcastic sense of humor and sometimes just scrolling through those pins is enough to get me to actually laugh out loud, mentally relax and get ready to tackle that next stack of papers or empty lesson plan book.
I now make a conscious effort to redirect those dark thoughts that lead me to question my profession and my passion. Those thoughts do creep in. It's easy to get dragged into a conversation at school or a news article that isn't relaying all of the facts. But I try to be there for my friends and lend an ear and let them vent. I do plenty of venting myself. But after that, I have to let it go. I can't hang on to it mentally. Have your fit, say your piece and then move on to greener pastures.
And finally, almost two years ago, I started this blog to focus on the good things going on in real classrooms with real teachers every day. That has been the very best thing I’ve ever done.
Thanks for coming along for the ride.