Once again, the busyness of this time of year has pushed back the weekly theme song until Tuesday this week. I do apologize! Here it is now, though. A new week, a day closer to a break for most of us. A busy time, but it does not have be stressful. Okay, not too stressful.
Wait, I am getting ahead of myself. I almost forgot. The song! Click play and then read on.
Like I said, this is a busy and stressful time of year. Unfortunately, though it is supposed to be the “peace on Earth” feeling season, we feel anything but peaceful right now. So much to do, so much to remember, and oh so little time. We can get down to the end of our rope, and those around us can get anything but peace from us (especially our students).
So what do we do about this?
How can we keep the “joyful” season keep up from wanting to kill someone? (I say that in jest, only, and for effect.)
Well, it sounds simplistic, but…we can smile.
Isn’t that like putting a band-aid on a severed limb if you are stressed out?
Maybe, but hear me out.
Smiling can change you. Smiling is powerful. A smile is powerful for those around you. A smile is power for you, personally.
To smile…to really smile and not fake one…makes something inside of you change. To have a sincere smile you have to think of something to smile about. When you are thinking about something to smile about, life and priorities get a little more focused. You start to remember what is important and what matters. As this happens, your smile becomes a little less forced and a little more natural. Stress melts away a bit and you start to feel like smiling.
Smiling changes your perspective. When that perspective changes, you will start to remember why you are up there in front of your students…to teach them, to care for them, and to help them grow into reasonable and self-sustaining adults one day. You remember that they are not there to make your life more difficult. They are there for you…for you to teach them…for you to care…for you to show them how to be them.
Smiling is infectious. You will help others smile when you smile. You will help your students feel better. You will help your coworkers feel better. You will help your family feel better.
Smiling changes things.
There is this old adage in teaching, “Don’t smile before Christmas.” I understand the sentiment. It is about classroom management and all of that. However, I am sorry. I have to cry, “BULL!” on that one.
Smiling is not a crime. Smiling breaks down walls. Smiling helps decrease stress. Smiling changes perspective.
Smiling is important.
It is okay to smile before Christmas. Heck, I say smile because it is almost the holidays. Smile because you have students to teach. Smile because your are a teacher and being a teacher is awesome! Smile because you are awesome!
I used to pride myself as not being the “Honey, Sweetie” kind of teacher. I hold my students accountable and I push them to learn and learn on their own. Not that there is anything wrong with the latter, however the former is important, too. This year a fellow teacher challenged my on my lack of terms of endearment for students. Mind you, I teach 6th grade so I did not feel like affectionate terms are important…that is for elementary school students. Anyway, I started to weave “buddy” and things like that into the day and into conversations with students.
I tell you, it has changed me. Stress has decreased. I can approach classroom management issues in different ways than before. The ice is broken by “buddy” and “pal.” Students had trouble with me talking like that at first, but now there is no fear in my approaching them about things and none for them to approach me with questions and misunderstandings in class.
“Buddy” changed things.
I share this because it is the same as smiling. Smiling and “buddies” de-stress us and de-stress our students. We can get to the heart of things and build a positive relationship and atmosphere. When we have these things, we can teach and learn a lot more effectively.
You are awesome, Teacher! You are amazing. Don’t forget to smile today as you are making a difference in your students’ lives. You are making a difference, and the smile will help that difference go further. Keep on smiling and keep on teaching, Teacher!
PS…Side note–Yesterday, I let the first “sweeties” slip from my mouth. Guess what? I did not melt into a pile of pixie dust! The students listened to what I had to say because they knew that I cared and was coming from the perspective of helping them make a better choice. Maybe “Honey, Sweetie” Teachers know what they are doing!