Do you ever feel like your day starts off bad and just gets worse from there? I've had one of those days. I have a general philosophy on attitude at school - Fake it 'til you make it! When working, I am generally a pretty happy and upbeat person, but if I'm not, I know that I have to get myself out of it! If I wake up grumpy, I make myself smile and greet people in a friendly manner until I actually feel better. If I feel like biting off someone's head, I smile at them and try to give constructive feedback instead. One reason for this is that I truly believe that our kiddos pick up on our attitudes and emotions. If I'm anxious, the kids are anxious. If I'm ticked off, my kids are more apt to be ticked off too!
Today, I bombed on my philosophy. Woke up with a headache and just could not pretend it wasn't there. Went to school and just could not pretend that I was into it. Of course, this meant my kiddos didn't feel it either. During group, two kids cried and whined instead of participating. Instead of using their token boards consistently I just fussed at them (luckily, my para's stepped in and provided their reinforcements and prompts as necessary). During work with teacher, the kids were unfocused. In the lunch line, my anxiety got to one of the kiddos and he had a tantrum. . . you get the drift.
Even with all this, I just couldn't get it together. Thank goodness for my parapro's. They remained calm and collected and kept things running as smoothly as they could.
I tell you all of this to make two points:
#1. Our students really do need 100% of what we can give. It's ok to have a bad day now and then, but if you find that you are "out of it" more than you are "in it", it's time to adjust what you're doing and how you're doing it. I came home and took a LONG shower, actually read for pleasure, and now, I'm headed to bed. I know that tomorrow will be a new day and it will be GREAT because no matter what, I'll make it great.
#2. We cannot work in this job in isolation. You must develop a strong team that can work together in the best and worst of times. You have to train staff so that they know exactly what to do no matter how you are doing. You have to have faith in your staff. If you don't have that team, work hard to develop it! Appreciate your para's and tell them how you feel! be honest with them. Give them feedback.
Ok,so now I'm off to bed so that I can wake up fresh and ready for my kiddos tomorrow!