Life often picks the most inconvenient times to throw curve balls at us… or, at least it can definitely feel that way.
But, that may be because we avoid doing something really important in times when things seem to be working against us…
“Okay… so what is that important thing?”, you may be wondering. Well, it’s actually looking at yourself and asking if there is anything you may be doing (or not doing) to cause this constant
Maybe we don’t even avoid this inner dialogue on purpose. Maybe, we’ve just never thought about things from this perspective before. And that’s okay; but if that is the case, I urge you to start thinking that way today.
I was able to find a very insightful article by Allyn Bacchus titled, “5 Ways to Find Peace: Life Lessons from an 8th Grade Teacher” that lays out 5 steps we can take in order to achieve a sense of peace with ourselves and our surroundings. As I’m sure you can infer from the title, this particular article happens to be written by an 8th grade teacher and his dealings with his students, but it is more than applicable to any given situation you may find yourself in.
1. Be yourself.
Once I finally gave up that lousy advice and started smiling, joking, and being myself from the beginning, my relationships with my students began to improve.
It was a light bulb moment. Improving my relationship with my students made me realize that I have to be my genuine self in real life too. I can’t be who I think I’m supposed to be—I have to just be me.
2. Don’t hold too tightly to plans.
The projector isn’t working.
The video won’t load!
The copier is down!!
These things can happen at any given moment, and the best laid lesson plans need to be adjusted. I plan every week but know that it’s just a blueprint of how I would like things to go.
Learning to be fluid with my plans allows my classroom to flow with a certain ease. If I want that same ease in my personal life, then I have to understand that the Universe has a way of turning our plans upside down too. I need to be able to adapt and adjust just like I do when little Johnny throws up in the middle of the classroom during third period.
3. Don’t get stuck on the negative.
I planned what I believed would be an awesome lesson incorporating a Nas rap song into our coverage of Ancient African Empires.
As I could barely contain my excitement, one of my students could seem to care less. He made unrelated comments, disturbed others, and left me feeling like the lesson was a complete failure.
Later that afternoon, a group of students were leaving the school singing the song I used in the lesson. I inquired about the song choice, and they said how much they enjoyed it and thought it was cool how I tied it in.
Here I was basing my perspective on one person while ignoring the reactions of the other thirty students in my classroom. How often in life do we only focus on the negative aspect and fail to notice the good all around us?
We can always find the bad in our life experiences, or we can choose to find the good.
4. Each day is new.
My first two years of teaching inundated my life with stories about something one of my students did, said, etc. I couldn’t wait to run and tell family and friends about my adventures as a teacher.
As time passed, those stories became less and less unique, and I found myself looking at the days and the students as the same old blur. I had seen it all. The students, lessons, and days were starting to become a haze of gray.
My friends and family would ask for new stories, and I had nothing. “It’s going” became my simple response to the question “How is teaching?”
The reality is that each year I get different students, who will do different things, during each day of the year, every period of the day.
I have to be aware of how much beauty and joy lies in that variety and appreciate the newness of it all, or else I will become like so many teachers who have lost their excitement for what they do.
I try my best to see the newness of each student and each class every day because I don’t want to lose my passion for teaching.
I also don’t want to lose my passion for life. I’m now starting to see that I have to find the newness of each moment in each day so that “it’s going” doesn’t become my answer to “How’s life?”
5. It’s okay to laugh.
Theodore Roosevelt set up the National Park System so that he could conserve the National Booty of America. Yeah, you read that right. I said National Booty instead of National Beauty. The kids laughed hysterically and I cracked up laughing too.
The truth is, school is funny.
There are too many moments that deserve a good laugh during the course of a school day. I can deny it or I can let out one of the few things guaranteed to increase my mood. I have chosen to increase my health and vitality by laughing in school.
And also in life. Because just like the classroom, there are so many funny things to laugh at in this world! To deny laughter would be to deny one of the basic parts of pleasures in life.
So what’s stopping you from practicing being yourself, giving your set plans some leeway, focusing on the positives, living every day as a new one, and allowing yourself to find the humor in life?
Like what you’ve read so far? Click here 5 Ways to Find Peace: Life Lessons from an 8th Grade Teacher for Allyn’s full article; you won’t be disappointed!
Are you struggling with being your authentic self, going with the flow or would like some guidance seeing the good in situations, or are you just interested in talking to someone about things going on in your life because you simply feel that you do not as you should? Sometimes having a partner in your journey can help. Give us a call to set up a free phone consultation at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando at 407-355-7378, and one of our Orlando Individual Counselors, Orlando Life Coaches, Orlando Teen Counselors, and Orlando Child counselors would be more than happy to help you, a family member, or a friend work on changing your life.