Off To A Positive Start???

First days of school are happening like crazy right now! Every time I sit down to catch up on my fave teacher blogs, I find myself reading about someone else’s beginning. So, is everyone totally exhausted yet?

I mean, what with all the organizing, the cleaning, the BTS shopping, the planning, the thinking, the worrying, the decorating, the reading, the alarm clock setting….ugh! I’m worn out just typing all that. (Plus, the old blogging muscle -along with *cough* my thighs- is out of shape these days.)(My two goals for September by the by? Blog more and lose fifteen ten pounds.)

So I think we’ve established that the beginning of the year is brutal, yes? However, it is also insanely exciting. Your classroom is all picture perfect with (nerd alert!) everything color coded and at perfect ninety degree angles. You can practically smell fresh Sharpie from all that recent labeling lingering in the air. (Does anyone else have goose bumps?). And then, at the pinnacle of your exhaustion, the kids come…

And it’s frightening.
And anxiety inducing.
And wonderful.

Every year, after selecting the perfect first day outfit and coordinating heels, I am a nervous wreck. Fast forward less than 24 hours to that moment when my new friends are on their way home and I’m totally exhilarated. Still exhausted, but totally, nerdily and completely ready for the new challenge.

If only I could take that positivity with me for the rest of the year.

But let’s be honest my lovelies, those smiles, helping hands and pleasant good mornings fade fast and before you know it, the same old bullish*t is hitting the proverbial fan and spraying all over you and your positive attitude. (And if you haven’t guessed by now, that bullish*t? Oh it’s all on the part of the other ADULTS….)

Recently I read a post from one of my fave blogs (Penelope Loves Lists) with some words of wisdom that might help us hold onto our positive attitudes when the sh*t is blowing our way. Because really? We can’t control how ridiculously lazy and mind numbingly thoughtless some d-bags can be but we CAN control how we react to said behaviors of those particular ass hats if we follow Penelope’s sage advice:

1.We can reframe our thoughts.. Instead of thinking to yourself, “How stupid can that (insert relevant name of notorious school slacker here) be? I mean, do I really have to do THEIR job too?” while contemplating punching them in the neck try taking a moment to be grateful. (Yes, you read correctly, I said “be grateful.”) (Has motherhood changed me?) (Don’t worry…I haven’t put away my soap box yet.) Be grateful that you have a job you care about SO MUCH that you want everyone around you to be great. Be grateful that you do not wander through your days in a clueless fog because really? It must suck to be that useless. Be grateful that you are able to contribute, even if it’s in a small way, each and every day to the learning of one of your friends.

2. We can decide to be in a good mood. We can plaster a smile on our faces, grab our fave read aloud and push the bullish*t aside. These were the moments when I scrapped my plans, pulled out the paint brushes and got messy with my friends. They deserve it- so figure out what DOES put you in a good mood and cling to it for dear life when having one of THOSE days. Or just man up and order pizza for lunch. Mrs. Mimi + cheese -crappy PB&J from home = better mood.

3. We can keep our mouths shut. Gasp! Did I really just type that? Why yes I did. Believe it or not, sometimes I kept my big mouth shut because botching can often beget a bitchy mood. So, before you open the old pie hole, think if a venting session is really what you need. (Because when it IS, a good closed-door rant with your fellow Super Colleagues can be total amaze-balls.) Sometimes, I know I just need to go back to my room, turn up the Pandora and throw myself into crossing things off one of my five running To Do lists. (And then run home to blog about it.)

I’m feeling very zen, like I should close this post with a “namaste” or something. However, for now, let me just say that I hope the beginning of your year is rocking and that you have a big bottle of wine waiting for you when you get home!

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  • YaY, you! LOVED this post, and will keep it in mind all year. 🙂

    September 1, 2010 at 12:03 pm
  • Hi there! I am a recent graduate(May '09) who has been trying really hard to get my first teaching position. I have been following your blog for a while and have enjoyed a mix of excitement and terror at the idea of teaching ( along with a series of laughs that caused my fiance to poke his head in and wonder what happened.) I am currently subbing(again) and am dying for that first day of school, as are my eventual-superstar-teaching-buddies from college. 🙂 For some reason our interviews just keep going downhill, along with our confidence. My last interview this summer included a principal with a stack of resumes over a foot tall which caused what little confidence I had maintained over the summer to shrivel up like a raisin. We really have no idea what to say to make ourselves stand out…what is it that principals are looking for? What do we say besides stating our name, rank, and serial number? In our interview experience, that's all principals really care about. That and "the big test" at the end of the year…so how do we explain we can handle it while oozing enthusiasm?

    September 1, 2010 at 12:03 pm
  • I guess I will try really hard to reframe my thoughts. Thank you for the push in the right direction!

    September 1, 2010 at 12:03 pm
  • New years mean new challenges. I retired last June…and unretired a mere two months later to start teaching at a local community college. Exchanging 6 and 7 year olds for 18 and 19 (and older) year olds…

    I feel like a first year teacher again…with all the struggles, confusions, mistakes, and fears.

    It's fantastic!

    September 1, 2010 at 12:03 pm
  • Wow, how did you do that?? You just read my mind and were probably crafting this perfect post as I was crafting one along the same lines. The teacher experience is universal, isn't it?

    Thanks for writing!

    -Carrie F.

    September 1, 2010 at 12:03 pm
  • Mrs. Mimi,
    Your words are so true.
    I need to remember to pay closer attention to keeping my mouth shut…and being happy I have a job.
    And thus, that is why I love your blog!

    September 1, 2010 at 12:03 pm
  • Hey there Elise! Don't give up. I work at one of the few schools in our area that hired a substantial number of teachers this year. We didn't hire any teachers without teaching experience. The rule of thumb is that it takes 3 years to make a teacher, so most districts hire more experienced teachers if they can. In this job climate- they totally can be choosy.

    We did, however, hire three of our subs from last year. Think of subbing as a job interview. The subs who went above and beyond, who acted like professional colleagues, and who were around a lot made a very favorable impression. Consider this school year as a long job interview and way to get experience that will eventually get you hired.

    September 2, 2010 at 2:03 am
  • Turns out School Committee members who are former teachers stay awake all night before the first day of school, too…
    Off to fight on behalf of recess of more than 15 minutes this week. Thanks for the inspiration.

    September 2, 2010 at 2:03 am
  • Great post, Mimi! So I can be reminded of them at just the right moments, I need to tatoo them on the forehead of every adult that annoys me at school.

    September 4, 2010 at 8:08 pm
  • Thanks Mrs. Mimi, I am new to your blog and my school year starts next Monday! I need to be more zen also, i love the tips! Also, I am starting this teaching year overseas… teaching in Albania, pretty exciting. If you'd like to keep up.. I also have a blog at:

    September 9, 2010 at 7:17 pm

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