I'm seeing a lot of posts lately about teachers who have recently resigned their positions for various reasons- testing, pressures from all ends, administration, etc. I'm also seeing a lot of meant to be humorous posts making puns about the hardships of the teaching profession, pictures of people taking naps right after school with scads of papers to grade and well, pick your problem and there's a picture for it. That's all well and good and sometimes making light of things is exactly what we need to do.
But what about changing how we think about it all? What about choosing to replace a negative thought with a positive? What about taking JOY, even though your dead tired. Even though there's no way you'll ever catch up on all your work. Taking joy even though you're so stressed, you're just ready to sit down and cry?
Yes. Simply Yes.
This is something I FAILED in when I was in the classroom! As a matter of fact, having a bad attitude about my job and all it's stresses and pressures was what I did best. (Not proud of that one. OUCH!) I WISH I had been a happy teacher 100% of the time, or even 50% of the time, but I wasn't. Instead of practicing taking joy in things, I practiced focusing on the negative things when I could have actually tricked my mind all along! Stress is only stress after all if we say it is in our mind.
AGAIN...STRESS IS ONLY STRESS IF WE SAY IT IS IN OUR MINDS.
I've not mastered this mind game by any means, but I think it's important to use to help survive teaching, and it's something I failed at, but maybe you won't!
"Well, Shelley teaching wasn't for you." yeah, I hear you! AND you would think that made sense. In fact, I was disappointed with how teaching had turned out.
The WANT to and the MOTIVATION I had when I began was long gone out the pooper! Maybe you feel that way too? Maybe you're secretly reading those posts about everyone's "WHY I LEFT THE CLASSROOM". Maybe you're thinking about leaving too.
For me, I left for a bunch of reasons, but do you know what I've DISCOVERED about myself? Are you ready? It's very UGLY! I found that no matter what I do, even homeschooling, even things that I may LOVE to begin with can BECOME a drudgery.
And you know what? NO matter what I do in life, there are always stresses and pressures. Now you're saying "DUH, why didn't you know that?" Well I guess I did know that in my head, but now I've had the ephiphany of finding out through my experiences and it's caused a new ephiphany- a change in my thinking and in my heart. - A change you just might need too?
I have been staring at this chalkboard in my house for the last 3 months and chewing on what it really meant- AND wondering if I was capable of counting it ALL joy! This of course, comes from the BIBLE passage James 1:2 " Count it all JOY, brothers, when you meet trials of every kind..." Whoa. Steep order.
BUT Really, how can counting things all Joy really help us be better teachers, better moms, better wives, better sisters, friends...? No one wants to be around a crank pot. (If you want, you can start by printing the pretty graphic above and framing it where you will see it each day!)
I always felt guilty divulging my hardships to my non- teacher friends, but I felt like I had to "vent" to someone. Now, instead of complaining, instead of getting upset about pressures and stress, challenges of negative appeal and trials in my life, I TRY as much as I can to count JOY in some way in each circumstance.
Some days I'm tired and it's hard. Some days I FORGET to do this because I forgot a day or two before and now my pressures are so high, I can barely see over them, but if I only begin the cycle again by making the small decision to TAKE JOY in something...
There are a lot of reasons to find JOY in your classroom, but here are just a few.
1. Your student's smiles.
2.You're powerfully influencing children everyday of the school week for 8 hours a day!
3.You're providing stability for children who don't have any at home.
4.You're giving encouragement to those who don't have any.
5.You're empowering and motivating.
6. You're GIVEN the opportunity to do it all again next year!
If you're an organized person, take joy in that!
If you're a leader at your job, take joy in that!
If you're a great team player with your grade level, take joy in that!
If you embrace the day today instead of "make it" through it, TAKE JOY, my DEAR!
How many children's lives will you influence by the time you retire? If you have 19 children a year and work for 25 years, you will have the opportunity to be a part of 475 children's lives!
That's a reason to have JOY! No one has more influence in their life besides their parents, but a teacher, YOU!
Seriously, make it a point every day to TAKE JOY in something at your job! Everyone has a job of some kind- stay at home moms have a job. Teachers have a job. Parents have a job. Your students have jobs. Why can't they also take joy with you?
Let's make 2016 a CHOICE year to TAKE hold of your life and TAKE CONTROL of the CHOICE to TAKE JOY in the hardships of our jobs. Let's be a POSITIVE influence to those around us!
Before you know it, you might be ENJOYING your teaching job and wondering, what in the world ever happened?