Yesterday wasn’t a great day.
It started out just fine – it was Monday and I was excited to begin the week. Since I’ve started #Celebrate(ing)Monday this year, I’ve actually been looking forward to that often lamented day of the week.
My entire day flipped shortly after arriving in my office. I received an unpleasant text message (I blogged about this yesterday), and I quickly found myself trying to work through my hurt feelings. Despite my best efforts to not allow someone else’s negative actions to impact me and my day, I was unable to completely overcome the hurt I felt.
As I reflected on that experience late last night and into this morning, I realized that my productivity yesterday, again despite my best efforts, was down. My hurt feelings, my struggle to understand the actions of others (and what I may have done to lead to those actions) filled my head and my heart as I moved throughout the day. I was still able to respond to emails and attend meetings, but overall my productivity was not what it typically is – or should have been.
Wow – isn’t it amazing how that one little thing had such an impact on me and what I was able to accomplish yesterday? This led me to thinking about our students. So many of them come to school each day dealing with hurt feelings, worries about family and friends, and a variety of other struggles. It occurred to me that if one little text message could hurt my feelings and spin my world out of whack for a day – the same or worse could be happening with students who are dealing with break-ups, bullying, broken friendships, gender identity issues, divorce, and so on.
Surely if the weight of the hurt caused by a text message can throw off my day, the issues that students are dealing with on a regular basis will impact their ability (and their desire) to be fully present and learn in the classroom.
So what do we do?
I don’t think we have to be certified counselors or therapists to make a difference here. Our students are people – like we are. We need to realize that their days and their lives are impacted by outside influences and struggles – just like ours. When things aren’t going well outside of our classrooms/offices, we can feel that impacting what’s going on inside. We have to remember – and be sensitive to the fact – that the same is true for our students.
For me, I can simply consider what turns my day around when I’m feeling this way. A smile, a word of encouragement or friendship, being heard in a quick conversation all go a long way to changing my outlook on my day – even if it’s just for a short time (an hour of replying to emails/phone calls, a meeting, etc.). I know the same is true for students.
We just have to be intentional.
Yesterday wasn’t a great day – but it has yielded great insight. I guess we need those not-so-great days; as rough as they may be to get through, things are clearer and brighter on the other side.