Changed My Mindset, Changed My Day

Without going into personal details for fear it will ruin my future New York Times best selling novel about my life, I can reveal that this past week has been a trying week. But on my way to work, I thought I should take my own advice to change my mindset when things get chaotic.

Work can be the biggest challenge in my life. I don’t mean the students. They are the least of my problems. I love teaching middle school. Interacting with them about novels and poetry is fantastic. I’d love to run my own school one day but I wouldn’t want to give up leaving the classroom.

Lately, I’ve become more of an observer to avoid clashing with others in the school who are considered “adults” but it is quite the challenge. I say this because hypocrisy is the one thing that I seem to not handle well in the work place.

Recently, I didn’t have to chirp up as much as I thought I would because my other coworkers did it. It’s as if there is a handful of educators who truly value instructional time. They want to be at parent conferences, they don’t want a gazillion interruptions while they are teaching, they grade with high expectations and they won’t tolerate disrespect of any kind. I consider myself a part of this group.

There was an incident this past week that really could have set me off and thrown me off the holiday cheer train. But I changed the way I looked at the situation. With the help of someone else who said, “they will never value your thoughts because your standards are too high for them.” There you go! I realized that maybe I was expecting something from people who despite having an educational degree, just couldn’t deliver the same high standards that our kids deserved. Once I realized that it wasn’t personal against me, I felt my anger float away.

I wish I could have applied this a long time ago. It would have saved me so many hours of getting upset. I used to wonder, “why won’t these co workers step it up? Why won’t they raise their standards? Why won’t they give these students quality education?” The answer is clear. They can’t.

The air condition unit wasn’t working at work this past week. Luckily for Miami weather, it was a chilly week. Yet my classroom was musty and warm. With students coughing up a lung, this environment could become a breeding ground for more just a flu epidemic. Once again, I thought let me change my mindset. So I took my students outside to continue doing the work that they would have done in the classroom. I didn’t say free time or play time or do whatever you want time. But once we got outside, my students saw their classmates doing just that with other teachers.

It’s not easy being the “tough teacher” but later on some of the students will realize that my job is to make sure they have the skills to succeed.

Until then, I will be the “tough teacher” and if my coworkers stumble up on this website, don’t take it personal.