I drove home from my classroom last night thinking, “Wow, does the new teacher glow really wear off that quickly?” We had just finished two grueling days of meetings, trainings, acronyms, expectations, changes, new curriculum, and binders of information that we never even got to. I have no computer or printer in my classroom, and we didn’t (still don’t) have final class lists. We have a new schedule and we are implementing several new programs, so I just didn’t feel like I had my bearings. Someone suggested, “Just go with the flow,” but the thing is, there is no flow.
It was hard to be excited for the first day of school when I was so stressed out and disoriented. This is my second year at the school and I’m in the same classroom, so how could I possibly feel more unprepared and unorganized than I did last year? I started thinking back to what I was feeling a year ago, and I noticed one major difference.
Last year I was so grateful to have finally landed a job after applying all summer. I was so happy to have my own classroom that it was okay with me that it wasn’t quite perfect on the first day. Honestly, the changes and expectations that we are facing this year are incredibly frustrating, but at the end of the day, I have a job.
I’m grateful that I have a job.
I’m grateful that I didn’t have to switch classrooms.
I’m grateful that I get to work with middle schoolers.
I’m grateful that I am physically able to make it up and down the stairs to my classroom every day.
I’m grateful that I woke up feeling healthy today.
I’m grateful that my car made it all the way to school without any issues.
We eased the kids into the school year today, so each class period was only about 25 minutes long. By the time I took roll and figured out who was here, who was lost, and who moved over the summer, we only had a few minutes left in class. Rather than jumping into procedures, I just told the students about my gratefulness theme for the year.
I told them to remind me about this theme when I get grumpy. And I will definitely be reminding them about it when they get all teenage-angsty. We talked about training ourselves to be grateful every time we are annoyed or frustrated.
You don’t feel like doing this worksheet? Be grateful that you have the ability to actually read that worksheet.
You are tired in class and wish you could go home? Be grateful that there is a bus to take you there at the end of the day, and that you don’t have to walk.
You got a low score on an assignment? Be grateful that there is an extra credit opportunity coming up.
We also just casually shared out things that we are thankful for in general. This was a pretty cool way to get to know some of the kids on the first day. Some said they were thankful for their parents, their friends, God, bacon, and clean water. One kid said he was thankful that his sister didn’t get deployed to Afghanistan. They were thankful for their new school clothes, and the fact that they don’t have to wear uniforms. Every class seemed to have one cheeky little student who said, “I’m thankful that I get to be in your class this year.” Well played, kiddo.
On that note, happy new school year!