Last semester left a bad taste in my mouth. It involved one of the most challenging group of students I've had to date. They were disruptive, vulgar, combative. I mean, one of them ended up expelled for assault if that tells you anything. I had no desire to come back this semester, but I also wasn't willing to quit. I had to find inspiration somewhere. I decided to incorporate some of my own personal goals into my classroom.
For myself, I want to be more positive. I find myself often dwelling on the negative, which just feeds more negativity. I don't expect that by focusing on the positive I will become Little Miss Sunshine, but I do hope that it will keep me from drowning self doubt and cynicism.
For my students, we're going to start a practice of gratitude. Everyday they will begin class by writing in their journal for 5-10 minutes. I will have prompts on the board for those that can't think of anything, but the focus of this journaling will be gratitude. No griping. I have also decided that I'm going to join them in this practice. It is so easy for me to use independent work time to do little chores, grade some papers, answer emails, etc. But I think it would be to my benefit to take a minute at the beginning of class and focus on gratitude. I hope to see a shift in behavior by the end of semester. And I plan to share my journals on this blog.
For myself, I plan to practice yoga every day, even if it's only for 5 minutes when I first get out of bed. I'm going to give myself time alone to just breathe.
For my students, we're going to spend one day in our States of Consciousness unit experiencing 20 minutes of guided meditation. They'll probably think it's silly, but they're going to play along.
For myself, I plan to be more present with my family. It's really easy to get home and just crash, let Ellie play on her own while I stare at the TV, then make dinner and put her to bed. It's all just a routine, I'm just a robot going through the motions. I need to do better, I owe it to them to be present.
For my students, I will do the same. I will make a better effort to get to know them. I was very insecure about this in previous semesters. It is my nature to be shy, and I was shy about getting to know these kids. They intimidated me, but why should they? I can do better.
Here's to a new year, with a positive mindset and a healthier outcome.