Monday, April 7, 2014

Successful Mondays

Be honest.  You didn't want to go to school today.  I didn't want to go, either, and even toyed with the idea of calling in sick.  After consulting both the weather forecast and my To-Do list, I decided that I had better show up.

The day had some rocky moments - the art teacher was absent, 5 of my 8th graders hadn't done their English homework, my To-Do list actually grew and I am pretty sure that my shoes didn't match. In spite of these disappointments, I considered the day a successful one.  Several times over, I was reminded of the reasons teachers show up nearly every day.  As these reasons presented themselves, I tried to take note.  Certainly, I missed a few, but here are some the highlights.

Students have things they want to tell us.  Today, alone, I learned that someone's dog had surgery, another student can't stand to know information before the rest of the class and that half my reading class would never ask their parents for dating advice.  Granted, we all could have survived without the sharing of this information.  But there was something important in the transmission of these little tidbits - for the students and for me.

Our common dislikes unite us - and inspire us to become more positive.  The morning began with a brief discussion about what makes Mondays unpleasant.  Maybe brief isn't the best word.  Students talked about feeling tired from Saturday night sleepovers.  Someone shared about that Sunday Night Feeling of Dread.  After a few more complaints about the day, a student reminded us that we had a special lunch to look forward to on Monday.  And a few days off at the end of next week.  Soon, there was anticipation where once their had been dissatisfaction.

The opportunity to learn always exists.  Today, it began with a mini-lesson about writing a thesis statement for an argument essay.  This lead to a discussion about the purpose of argument.  And the meanings of the word claim. This rich discussion could have easily happened with a substitute teacher.  But I would have missed it.

The resolution - success connection.  Abraham Lincoln said, "Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other."  Chances are, he wasn't thinking about facing a Monday when he said this.  But his words can help teachers and students alike face Mondays, bad days, report card conferences, field trips, lunch duty - just about any obstacle that gets placed in our paths.  Lincoln believed that we can resolve to be successful.  More importantly, he said that it is our own resolutions that matter most.

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