Thinking On Purpose

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I’m experiencing Sunday Night Dread.  Remember 2009-2010?  Lots of Sunday Night Dread.  I know that every teacher has these years, and I know I didn’t handle it well in 2009-2010.  Lots of self-destructive habits were born or encouraged that year.

I’m pretty sure I’m getting a second chance to learn how to handle these kinds of years.

This morning I woke up from a dream about my kids.  I was so overwhelmed and frustrated in my dream that I woke up actually crying.  Tears-literally-flowing-from-my-eyes crying.  Of course I immediately realized it had been a dream, and it was fine, but it put a damper on my whole day.

You remember N?  He is accompanied in my class by S, K, A1, A2, T, M, Z, and sometimes R, H, A3, and A4.  That’s 12 kids.  12 kids out of 21.  Calm voice.  CALM VOICE.

(On a side note…how many kids can have names that start with A in one class?  🙂  I’m horrible about calling them by each other’s names, boys or girls, just as long as the names start with the same letter.  Most years it’s M names, though!)

My point is this:  Even in the tough years, I want to WANT to do this!  I don’t want Sunday Night Dread.  I want to rise above.

I’m slowly reading Awakened: Change Your Mindset to Transform Your Teaching, by Angela Watson.  I have nothing to say about it yet.  It’s on my Kindle app, and I try to read a phone-screen-sized page or two each morning while I eat breakfast, so I’m only 14% through it right now.  But I’m going to practice some of her suggestions and try to rise above.  So far, I have read about noticing negative thoughts, and acknowledging and then replacing them.  The thought may or may not be true, but if continuing to play the thought in my head contributes to stress and overwhelm, then it is destructive.  Even if it’s true.  Or partially true.

On purpose, I’m trying to think things like this tonight:

I love it when I’m able to de-escalate a behavior situation.  I feel like a superhero when I’m able to contain my own emotions and not show, or even FEEL, frustrated and overwhelmed with behaviors.  I’m strangely fascinated by temper tantrums and defiant, explosive behavior, and I love seeing the strategies work.

And:

I want to be an excellent teacher, in every way.  I want the kindergarten and sped teachers to recommend my classroom for the tough kids because they know I can do it well.  

Also:

I’m so lucky to have such great coworkers.  Despite the challenges of my particular class, this has been such a positive year in regards to our building team.

Furthermore:

No matter how difficult a particular day is, these are now MY kids.  These are the ones I will miss during the first few weeks of the school year next year.  These are the ones I laugh with and cry over and hug and high five and buy snacks and prizes and pencils for.  I’m attached.

And the toughest one for me:

I am a better teacher for claiming balance in my life.  I’m better for ALL areas of my life.  It’s unfortunate that I have a job where “caught up” and “done” are imaginary concepts, never actually experienced.  I will do everything I can today, and anything that has to fall off my to do list until tomorrow, day after day, is simply a casualty of a system that isn’t realistic about what one human being can accomplish in one day.  Every other teacher in the building is in the same situation, and it is not a sign of my own incompetence.

It kinda works.  And they’re all true.  I’m not just saying that I like something in order to make myself like it.  I’m focusing, on purpose, on what is true, to get my focus away from things that may also be true, but contribute to my Sunday Night Dread.  I’m all fired up for tomorrow now!  Sunday Night Dread, banished for one night!  🙂

photo credit: [phil h] via photopin cc

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