Monday, September 15, 2014

Appreciating What I Have: 10 Things I'm Grateful For At Work

Today is Monday, and it was actually a pretty decent Monday for a change! I didn't have such a hard time waking up early today, despite feeling ill this weekend. It looks like I'm coming down with an ear and/or sinus infection, but overall, I still feel pretty okay! There are times when I do feel demotivated at work, when I get consumed in thoughts of my 'ideal scenario', and forget to appreciate what I have now. And although it's imperfect, what I have now is pretty awesome. So, in the spirit of counting my blessings and truly appreciating what I have, here are 10 things I am currently grateful for at work:

1. I am grateful for my students. All 19 of them. My third graders are truly what keep me going whenever I feel demotivated at work. I just think of how much they make me smile and laugh with their quirks. I think of how smart and witty they are and just overall brilliant. I think of how lucky I am to have this particular group of students, because even though they can be quite a handful, their 'youness', for lack of a better term, makes it all worth it. You know how that Dr. Seuss passage goes, "Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than You?" My students are the epitome of that passage. They just make each day so much more bearable, simply for being who they are.

2. I am grateful for where I work, in particular, a 2-minute drive, 5-minute (10 minutes tops) walk away from home. You have no idea how much of a relief this has been, and how much gas money I'm able to save and use for other things, like small pleasures. Oh, how wonderful it is to work so close to home!

3. I am grateful for my boss. For the first time in a long time, I feel like the big boss trusts me and believes in my ability to handle my class. Absolutely no pressure or negativity; only support and encouragement. No micro-managing; only someone who believes in my own independence and leadership. It feels great to be able to enjoy teaching again, and that is mostly because of the leadership we have in our school.

4. I am grateful for my co-teachers, especially since one of them happens to be my mom! I love being able to eat lunch with her everyday. I love seeing her in action and learning from her. I've said this so many times, and I'll say it again -- my mom was born to be a teacher. And although I can't exactly say that about myself, I feel extremely blessed to work side by side this kind of educator.

5. I am grateful for growth. I've been seeing this most especially in my students. Transitioning from the comforts of 2nd grade to the amount of material and depth of expectation in 3rd grade proved quite challenging during the first month of school. August was a very exhausting month for all of us. But now I can say that the kids are adjusting well and starting to get the hang of things. It's amazing to see them improve each day, which makes my job so much more fulfilling.

6. I am grateful for the extra support I get daily from the special education team. I have quite a soft spot for special education, and I am always so thankful for the amazing SpEd professionals who support us regular classroom teachers everyday. It makes my job so much easier to have that extra support, yes, but I think the fulfillment comes mostly from seeing these kids grow and mature under the wing of such nurturing individuals. So, hats off to you, SpEd team!

7. I am grateful for recess! Yes, I am a firm believer in physical activity in between grueling hours of work inside a stuffy classroom. You'll be surprised how even a short, 10-minute health break outdoors can change the disposition of a student, making learning so much quicker and effective.

8. I am grateful for the little things, some of the little pleasures that make even the most mundane things at work so much easier. The teachers' workroom, which houses all our supplies, the printer, and a copier, which is just two doors down from my classroom. Our teacher's lounge, where I actually don't mind spending my lunch with other staff members (someone once said that a happy teacher's lounge makes a happy school).

9. I am grateful for my kids' parents. I've never had this much parent support and involvement before, and I am loving it! I, for one, love keeping in constant contact with my kids' parents. I think this is so important, because I believe success in school is a three-way partnership between the teacher, the student, and their parents.

10. I am grateful for the financial support I am able to give my family for having this job. It's rare to hear about a teacher being thankful for their living, but in the spirit of gratitude and appreciation, you'll hear it from me today. It's not much, but it's still something.

Sigh. That felt great, and now I'm ready for Tuesday.

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