It is so very easy to see what is wrong in today’s classroom: the wriggling student, the sleeping student, the student who rolls her eyes, or the one who throws his desk.
It is harder, but necessary–I’ll even go as far as to say life changing–to look for what is right: the student who comes on time every day, the one who sits quietly while you repeat directions for the fifth time to the other kids in his row, the student who hands you a drawing on his way out the door, the one who has a poet’s soul.
Every single child will learn this year and every single child will grow. It takes time. Sometimes it takes a full year before we see a difference, but we will see it. It will happen. While we are busy working and waiting, we need to remember to look for what is right about ourselves, too.
Before we get caught in a downward spiral of thoughts of what did not get done, what did not go well, the repeated practices, the disrespectful remark or the disappointing parent comment, consider this:
We show up. Every day. Sick or not–usually not. We know our material. We read to children. We model writing and the joy of it. We laugh. We ask kids to think. We praise the good we see and we look hard and deep for it.
Keep a list of children’s names and write down at least three positive things you see them do for the rest of the week. Specific and happy things. Tell them you are doing this. Tell them you will read this list Friday. Follow through. Watch your environment change. Watch yourself change.
While you are at it, add your name to that list as well. Write down the three things you are proudest of this week. Let it be a starting point. Add to the list every single day. We have time. We must have time.