Saturday, August 21, 2010

"We're Going to the Institute."

Institute Day was on Monday. The powers-at-be decided to go the route of "entertain" instead of "bore and annoy." For this I was grateful. They hired a comedian who can be seen on a local news show in our area. She was not only funny, but poignant. She talked about laughter as the best medicine, learning to laugh at yourself, and killing them with kindness. As someone who was way-too-stressed about starting a new school year for reasons-still-to-be-determined, they were lessons that I heartily needed.

Many bad things happened on our institute day. According to the comedian, how could they not, we call it an "INSTITUTE day." She made an unflattering voice meant to indicate that there was something wrong with us (probably not too far off) and said, "Bye honey! I going off to the INSTITUTE." A fair point.

Some good things happened on the institute day too, but they were all done by my own will and hard work, and only to counteract all of the bad that kept creeping up. In fact, I took a page from the comedian's book and spent the afternoon proactively killing them with kindness.

I came to school knowing that I was unprepared and that my heart wasn't in it this year. I also came to school with my game face on and I don't think anyone around me pays close enough attention to think that I was anything other than positive about the impending doom (I I can't pinpoint for you why I'm not ready to be Suzy-Sunshine this year. I had a whole summer to figure it out and I'm still sitting her stewing about how I'd rather that things turn out and where I'd rather be. But enough of the that.

The point is that I walked into school and disaster after disaster started to strike. Heck, things that could have been prevented if anyone was LISTENING at the end of last year were all of a sudden major issues again. Instead of just sitting in my room and crying, I kept walking out and communicating with people. Even the people who shut me down got some extra visits and some positive problem solving. It was the biggest success of the day that something in me motivated me to keep walking into coworkers room and trying to rectify situations.

The one thing that I kept saying in order to present a positive front was the word "get" instead of the word "have." I asked when I GET to start my reading groups and when we GET to see our revised student lists and whether I would GET to teach my student again who was supposed to be moving at the end of last year. The difference? "When do I HAVE to start up my reading groups? When do I HAVE to look at that awful list full of extra students I didn't plan for? When do I HAVE to find out that I'm teaching that kid again instead of sending him packing and knowing that my workload will be one person lighter?" Even if you're faking it (and I seriously do ADORE that student that came back to me) you start to sound better, and then I think you start to feel better. It's a crazy thing but our mind is very malleable that way.

I guess it comes down to attitude. The bad things that seem to continuously throw us off our game? They're gonna happen! It's how you choose to deal with them that sets the pace for how your year is going to shape up to be.


  1. It looks like your positive attitude, and more importantly your positive and productive actions, are helping to set up a better year -- hang in there, good luck!

  2. So, SO true! Fake it till you make it, that's what they say :). And I think "get" instead of "have" is pure genius!

  3. Thanks to both of you. You know, it's kinda cool. You can't change other people, and for the most part nothing has actually gotten better, but I actually feel better just approaching people with a different attitude. I hope this year is starting off well for you guys!