This week brought the end of winter break, and the start of a new semester of school. And can I be honest? It's hard to return from break! I love my students, but I also love sleeping in, spending time with friends and family, and having time to pursue other creative pursuits. This year, I had the opportunity to exercise my #OneWord2017 - LEAD - right away as I helped facilitate two staff meetings about some controversial and tension-filled subjects. I was still feeling pretty unsettled from these meetings when the bell rang and students began filing in. At that moment, my mind flashed back to a couple of the comments students had written in their feedback:
"I really like that she is very energetic, and always in a good mood."
"I don't know how I would make it every morning without your contagious smile and energy. Your enthusiasm makes any day into a good day."
Now, let me be clear. I am not always in a good mood. I don't always have tons of energy. A lot of the time, I'm employing the "fake it till you make it" strategy.
But yesterday morning, like so many other mornings, I had to make a choice. I had to put all of the other stuff behind me (at least for a time) so I could focus on my students. And, especially for my 1st period kids, I knew that the way I started this class could really set the tone for the rest of their day. So I took a deep breath, smiled, and welcomed all of my students back. I told them how happy I was to see them, and how I missed them over break. And then, as they came up to get tuned, I tried to ask each and every one of them something about their break.
It was exhausting.
But it was worth it.
You never know how your attitude will impact everyone else in the room. You never know who might be relying on your smile. It's such a simple thing. Don't underestimate the power you have to change a kid's day!
*I hesitated in sharing these students' comments, because I don't want this to be about me. Rather, it's about the important role teachers play in students' lives and how the smallest things can make a huge impact! This reminder has given me strength when I'm not feeling ready for the day to begin, and I hope it can do the same for you. Kids are watching - we can lead by smiling and setting the tone for a great day in our classes!