Why is it that the bad days, long meetings, misbehaving students, mad parents, and disastrous lessons stick in our heads so much more than the good days, cancelled meetings, adorable students, supportive parents, and amazing lesson do? Why do I fixate on the two rough parents teacher conferences that I had instead of lingering over the other 64 conferences I had that went just fine? (64 because I have seperate math, homeroom, and lang arts classes.)
I think it is human nature to focus on the negative. It’s what we instinctively do. So we very intentionally and purposefully need to train ourselves to focus on the positive.
One way I do this is I journal. I write about my day teaching whenever I find time (which is definitely not every day.) And yes I write about the bad stuff, but I also make a point to write about the good stuff, even if it’s little. Here are a few little stories from this week that I will hang onto and look back on to stay positive:
We are learning about probability in math (impossible, unlikely, likely, and certain is about all we do in 3rd grade.) It was assessment day and I was doing testing on a few kids at a time. One of my boys finished his tests and left to go find his parents. About ten minutes later he comes rushing back into my room and says “Ms. Cutshall, we are all certain to take tests today. It’s likely that it will take us an hour to complete. It’s unlikely we will take three hours, and it’s impossible for us to finish in five minutes.” And then he rushed back out of the room. He was applying what he was learning without being asked and telling me about it just for fun. It made my heart melt.
I was teaching a social studies lesson and I was shuffling papers around. I inadvertently gave myself a paper cut. I think I said “ow, a paper cut” then went right on teaching. (I have taught with strep before, a paper cut is nothing.) And 30 seconds later one of my girls is standing in front of me offering me a bandaid. I was not seriously injured, I did not make a big deal about it, but she was still thoughtful enough to get me a bandaid without being asked.
I was standing outside after the bell had rung keeping an eye on all the kiddos when one of my former students came up to me. (Side note: one of my favorite parts of having taught for a few years is having former students. Even the most frustrating student in your class can be lovable the next year when they have moved up and are no longer in your class 😉 This student is in 5th grade and his brother is in 2nd. He told me how he was telling his 2nd grade brother what a great teacher I was and how he would be lucky to have me as a teacher next year, and he was really genuine about it. I think my smile looked about like that daisy picture.