If I were still a classroom teacher, then tomorrow would be my first day back to school (unless I were still teaching in Manhattan, and then I’d be heading back the day after Labor Day). Even though I no longer have a classroom of my own, I can still recall how overwhelmed I felt in the days leading up to the new school year. I always wanted everything to get done (from name tags on each of my students’ school-issued notebooks to stocking the supply caddies to sharpening enough pencils to making sure the classroom library was just right), but often I was unable to achieve everything I wanted to achieve with the 24 hours that were given to me each day. Therefore, I prioritized and got done whatever I could get done so that the classroom was ready-to-go by the start of the school year.
Last week I was at a Pilates session and noticed a quotation on the wall. It read:
Celebrate what you can do, not what you can’t do.
I noticed the quotation as I struggled to transition to an exercise that I thought might be too challenging for me. Those ten words changed my perspective completely. Instead of focusing on the negative by thinking that I was going to be unable to accomplish something, I changed my mindset and focused on what I was able to do so well. Doing this allowed me not to feel discouraged by something I was unable to do as well as I would’ve liked.
Whether you’re back to school, starting tomorrow, or head back in early September, take time to praise yourself for everything you’re able to accomplish. Keep expectations of yourself reasonable. You’ll be happier, which in turn, will make your students happier.
Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.