Monday, November 18, 2013
We all have bad days.How do we get over the frustration? From Classroom Q & A with Larry Ferlazzo, I am including a few brief excerpts from several contributors.
Discipline yourself to forget, just at list-making time, every affront, every disappointment that a typical day as a teacher presents you with. Try just making a list of every single moment of learning and progress that you witness in your classroom. You will start having a lot more good days in the bank to draw from when those bad days strike.
Ironically, I've found that the best things I can do to help me move on from a frustrating day at school are not school-related. Instead, it's been essential for me to try to stop the nasty self-talk tapes that start playing in my head when things aren't going well. You know how it goes. "I've done nothing but bend over backwards for these kids and they still won't follow directions. A real teacher would have had them in hand by now. And if I had planned correctly it wouldn't even be a problem.
In fact, for folks in the service professions such as teaching, I would argue that self-compassion is the quickest and strongest way to recharge your own emotional batteries and become Truly Available, consistently, to your students.
Like most teachers I had many bad days in my early years of teaching. But then I learned something important: don't concentrate on the lesson you planned to teach, but on the students. If you are determined to stick to you lesson plan, and it doesn't seem to be working--for whatever reason--you will become frustrated and, very likely, show that frustration in your tone of voice, facial Expressions, and body language.
Humor has certainly saved the day many times. When tension mounts, it dissipates it.
Whenever I'm having a bad day at school, I do one of two things-and if it's really a bad day, I do both. First, I keep a file of thank you letters from parents and students. On bad days, I take a couple of minutes to re-read these. Needless to say, it's uplifting and motivating.
I try not to think if them as "bad" days. Bad days elicit that fixed mindset that nothing can be done about them but wallow in them. In more of a growth mindset, I think of them as challenging days because I learn something every time I have one - either about myself as an educator, about students or about learning.