I have to do a quickish Wednesday's Walk (now called "so we don't forget") this week. I have a mile long to do list for both my classroom and at home to get ready for the first day of school tomorrow. I had an amazing experience this week that I want to get down before I forget. Hope you can get something out of it as well.
I had the opportunity yesterday to hear a phenomenal speaker during our school district's back-to-school assembly for the teachers. His name is Allan Johnson. I had heard him speak before, but yesterday especially touched me. His talk was basically about attitude.
The beginning of a new school year is stressful for teachers (you probably guessed that already). There is so much "behind the scenes" things that have to happen to make a school run smoothly.schedules for special classes, lunch, recess all have to hammered out every year. Who is going to be where and when for bus duty, recess duty, cafeteria duty, etc has to be assigned. Which class gets which kids has to be decided...it's a mess. And, no matter how you assign things and how fair you try to be, someone always feels like they got the short end of the stick. That's where our attitude comes into play.
Allan said that you can choose to be a duck or you can choose to be an eagle. Eagles are built to soar. They stay high above the earth and see amazing things. Ducks hang out close to the ground. Mostly, they see each other. And mostly, ducks just quack and poo...quack and poo. Kind of like we do when we feel something isn't fair or we didn't get what we "deserve". People say things like "well, I'm going to do my job, but I'm not doing anything extra." "They don't pay me enough to do THAT..." Quack and poo...a bunch of ducks.
So, our goal is to be eagles. To soar above all of the mess and see the amazing things. And yesterday, when I left the assembly, I WAS an eagle. I couldn't wait to get back into my room and get ready for all those sweet little babies coming my way on Thursday. I was so excited writing their names on things in the room and remembering their little faces from Meet the Teacher night. I left school for a couple of hours and had lunch with some of my very dear friends I used to teach with when I was a "newbie" teacher. I left there soaring even higher. It was a great feeling, even when up until I went to bed.
Then, morning came. Today, we spent most of our day in meetings. It started out wonderfully-bagels from Panera Bread, someone brought us cookies, and we hung out and talked about how great the meeting had been yesterday afternoon. Then, we got into the "meat" of our meeting. Schedules and duties and dress codes...oh my!
And suddenly, I found myself on the ground with all the ducks. Quack...poo. What happened to me? I could no longer see anything beautiful or amazing about starting school. All I could see was the poo. Just like that, I changed from being super excited about school, to being sad and angry. And really, most of the things that were making me feel that way were things I had no control over anyway. But still, there I was-quack...poo. And the more I quacked and pooed (yes I enjoy saying that. I'm trying to see how many times I can use it in context) the worse I felt. My excuse for all the quacking and (you guessed it) pooing, was that I "just needed to vent." But, really, I think if I honestly looked at it, what I wanted was to bring some other ducks down to quack and poo with me. And it worked. There we all were on the ground together. Pretty sad bunch.
When all the meetings were over and the chaos of the day was over, I went back to my room to work. I had more things to label and set out and hang up. As I worked, I started to notice some of the quacking in my brain fading away. I wrote more kids' names on things and I started seeing their faces in my mind again. I could feel the eagle coming back. I went out to take pictures of places in our building for a book I'm going to read to them tomorrow and the excitement started to come back as I pictured them on the playground and in the cafeteria. By the time I left, I could see all the amazing things that I had been missing all day. I walked up to the office to sign out as I was leaving and I stopped in to talk to some of the other "ducks" that had been with me this morning. But, I no longer saw the ducks-they were eagles too. The excitement was back!
But, what was the key to bringing it back? Hmmmmmmmm...have you ever noticed that ducks hang out in groups? You really don't see too many lonely little ducks wandering around. They stay with the flock. How about eagles? When I see pictures of eagles, I see one or two at a time. Eagles hang out by themselves. When they're soaring high above the earth, they don't have anyone there to bring them down. Ducks quack and poo together, but eagles soar alone. Funny how that works.
So, my goal is to not hang out with the ducks. Rather, I want to invite the ducks to come soar with me and enjoy the view.
(okay, it wasn't that quick, but it was much quick-er than usual because I didn't post any pictures. I have some of my classroom, maybe I'll add those later.)