Monday, December 1, 2014

Deal with a Disappointing Day

Today found me in a disagreeable state of mind as I sat down to write my blog post. Good advice says think twice before you press publish, especially when you are in a grumpy mood, but on the other hand, I heard that sharing just the high points and successes can be discouraging to others, who may feel like they cannot measure up to the "Twitter Superstars". I'll share a few of my disappointments today and maybe get around to reflecting on how to handle it. I will practice phrasing my thoughts using the "I feel" statements I was taught in Tribes - where the feeling and situation are explained and no blame is given. (I'll reveal all the self-blame and finger-pointing underneath.)

I feel disappointed when a lesson flops spectacularly, especially when effort was made to reschedule it so it occurs.
I am unhappy with the technology. Our kindergarten class was all ready and quietly waiting and the silly TV and DVD refused to play the sound. It took precious time to go to the computer, log onto Learn360 and try to find and download the clip I needed and by the time it was ready, the children had to return to class to dress for lunch.
I blame myself for not checking in advance to ensure that everything was in working order. I should have had Plan B ready, with the necessary video already downloaded to my computer so I wouldn't have to madly search in front of a crowd of 4- and 5-year-olds.

I feel disappointed when rules are broken in a particularly cruel fashion and one of the school clubs I run are part of the reason for the infraction.
I am unhappy with a couple of my students. They should have known better than to do what they did. Their actions were mean and thoughtless. I can't reveal what they did but it's really not nice.
I blame myself for not doing enough to prevent this behaviour. My administration was a bit cautious about allowing Photography Club to begin in the first place and I reassured my principal that the students would be responsible. I had to eat my words. My initial response to this incident was to shut the club down but my principal was the voice of reason and suggested that the actions of some should not penalize the majority. We discussed steps to take next time the club is formed, which were all reasonable, and I wish I had thought of them beforehand.

I feel disappointed when my volunteer efforts aren't recognized and communication between home and school is inconsistent.
I am unhappy with the administration at my son's school. I was the CSAC chair at my own children's school for two years and last week, we finally found people to fill the executive position. (Actually, it took three people to replace me, a fact I took perverse pleasure in noticing.) I saw the school newsletter today when I got home, which had a front-page announcement introducing the new co-chairs and included a blurb written by the pair. There was no "thanks to the departing chairperson" note at all. While I struggled with getting simple replies to my emails, how were they able to have a paragraph written, approved, and published in less than a week?
I blame myself for not fostering a better communication link or bond with the principal. It's a bit of jealousy - why does it appear to be so easy for the new chairs and the principal to work together? Why didn't the principal and I "click" but they do? Was it something I said or did?

I feel disappointed when I read about cases involving the abuse of trust by educators and the gender biases at play.
I am unhappy with some teachers and the justice system and society's double-standard. I first found this article on Yahoo (thanks hubby for re-finding it for me to link here after it disappeared from my Yahoo feed) about the number of female teachers who sexually abuse their students. The female perpetrators receive much lighter sentences than their male counterparts. The reason may be due to society's gender attitudes - it's not bad for this to happen to a pre-teen or teen boy, but it's a tragedy for the same to happen to a girl.
I blame myself for reading negative articles when I am in a bad mood. I probably also unconsciously hold some of these same biased attitudes that lead to these sorts of court decisions, and I don't like that realization. I have never abused a student but I suspect I would be initially more disgusted with a 40 year old man involved with a 15 year old girl than the opposite - and that's wrong; both cases are morally distressing and equally disgusting.

So how do I deal?
Writing about it actually helped. I know I didn't have to press "publish", but I wanted to prove my life isn't always a bed of roses and I'm not always Positive Pollyanna. Realizing that these disappointments are pretty minor in the grand scheme of things helps - we have a good friend dealing with brain cancer right now, so complaining about a lesson that bombed is small potatoes. My son told me to do something different that makes you happy and makes you forget about your disappointments. If you have other tips for dealing with a disappointing day, please add your comments below.

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