being a teacher, believe, choices, community, embrace, emotions, energy, hopes, inspiration

Don’t Be the Pebble

This week I was told by a dear friend that she envies how positive I am in in the face of all the changes happening in my classroom. She didn’t know how I did it. Instead of lurching into a long philosophical debate about my chosen attitude, I simply answered, “I don’t want to be the pebble that starts the rings of negativity.”

So think about your words; stop yourself before you unload the negative,the tiring, the unhappiness. Of course, reflect and vent about it, but don’t spread it. Be conscious of yourself and your affect on others because all it takes is one negative person to undermine a whole school. Don’t be the pebble.

being a teacher, energy, invest, students

Invest in Yourself

I am nothing special.  Just a teacher trying her hardest in making her students believe that they too can be something.  That they too can move mountains, change the world, be somebody.  A small quest but a meaningful one.  Some call me an idealist, others overly optimistic, but I think of myself as human.  I believe in those kids entrusted to me.  I believe in their passion, their desire to learn, their ability to learn.  I work too many hours, I wonder, think, digest their learning, their skills, their failures.  I take responsibility, I beat myself up if a lesson fails and I celebrate loudly with my students when they triumph.  I live life fully in my classroom, embracing all of the emotions of life, investing myself into my this classroom, making sure my students know the true Mrs. Ripp, warts and all. 

The reward is immense.  My students tell me about themselves.  They show me their work.  They trust me with themselves.  The setbacks are also big, though.  I can be on an emotional rollercoaster due to the mood of my classroom.  I can work too many hours and not get enough sleep.  I can obsess over lessons, obsess over a student’s situation that is out of my control, and I can beat myself up over not being good enough, there enough, just not being enough.  So last night my husband told me that I was working too much, missing out on moments with my 21 month old daughter.  And he is right.  With all the changes that have occurred in my classroom, this has been by far the most work I have ever put in for the first 7 weeks of school.  I am glad I have put in the hours, I am glad I have invested myself but the balance has been bumped somehow.  The balance of life and teacher has been tilted in the wrong way and I am feeling drained, listless, and just plain old tired.

So instead of complaining about it, I am realizing this is normal.  When you invest everything you have into your classroom, you sometimes forget to keep a little for yourself.  So while I do live for this job, for these kids, I also have to live my life.  I must allow myself to go home at the end of the day sometimes with no work to do.  I must allow myself to take the weekend off and not go into my classroom to do more.  I must allow myself to live, just as I hope my students do, when I do not assing them another worksheet.

To be the best teacher I can be, I must also be the best person I can be.  And that person needs her family more than anything else in the world.  Without time with my family, I lose my base, my sanity, and that affects everything else.  So this weekend I plan on going to the farm and picking a pumpkin with my daughter.  I plan on petting the goats, reading a book, and cooking dinner.  I plan on listening to my husband when he speaks and maybe even going grocery shopping.  And I will relish these ordinary life moments, come back renewed, rejuvenated and ready again to invest in my kids.  After all, they deserve the best me that I can be, and so do I.