Once upon a time, I lived in a bubble of discontent. There was always something that would steal my “happy”. It could be a student’s behavior, curriculum woes, or even losing my favorite grading pen. When I look back on it now, I see how completely exhausting it was to be that unsatisfied with my world around me. I’m sure I was exhausting those around me as well. I was just clueless to how far I dove into this pit of despair.
And then it happened.
I can remember the day and hour so vividly. I was sitting among a few of my students during a mini lesson. One particularly challenging young man laughed at a humourous comment made by another young man. We all laughed at his comment, but the sound of his particular laughter was unlike anything that I had heard from him. It was the type of innocent child laughter one might hear from a child watching a Disney movie. I could only stare in amazement because I finally saw the little boy and not the rough around the edges kid who left trouble in his wake.
That evening, I went home and shared the moment with my husband. Through tears, I explained how it affected me and how wonderful it felt to have that small moment. The next day, I found myself looking for little moments. I wanted to see the moments I was missing by being constantly frazzled by deadlines, paperwork, and the non stop routine that being a teacher can bring to a day. I found three things that day. Three small moments that brought me a little happiness. The next day, I did the same thing and found a few more small moments. It continued day after day until I found myself finding five things during my day.
Each and every day I make it a practice to silently review the five things that have brought me some bit of happiness. Occasionally, I share them with others either by talking about them or posting them on my Facebook page. Not everyday ends in sunshine and rainbows. And I still get frustrated a time or two at curriculum changes or the lack of parental support. It just comes with the territory of the field we have chosen.
It’s a challenge not to become overwhelmed with the demands of both work and home. Ruts occur. Burnout can rear it’s ugly head. However, there is true joy in teaching. If we examine the day close enough, we can find things that make us completely thrilled to be a teacher. It starts with one thing. Only one small moment can become five things in no time. All we have to do as educators is observe. I mean really observe our surrounding. It’ll change your outlook.