Some days are just not worth getting out of bed for! You know the type of day I am talking about. It does not just happen to teachers but it is part of human nature. Bad days happen...to all of us!
My problem is that more times than not the bad days are followed by worse days and when the worse days are followed by those terrible, horrible, very bad, no good kinda of days it becomes very hard to keep that even keel personality and not to let our shells crack. But crack they do!
And when they crack there are usually casualties involved....the innocent, the unexpectant, the ones who never did a thing wrong....the people of Pompey! And like the people of Pompey, when our eruption of pent up rage and emotions are released all that remains are ash and cinders. And though we may feel relief it is only temporary because we soon realize that we have just destroyed an entire civilization...okay so maybe not quite that bad...but recovering from an emotional outburst or moment of unexpected rage is hard enough to do with friends and family. Trying to regroup and safe face with our colleagues or even worse our students can seem like an impossible task.
Fortunately, I have never reached the point of eruption....call it fate, luck, or good self management I have always been able to step away from the situation either physically or at least emotionally and regroup my wits....sort of like creating a volcanic steam vent to release the pressure. These can take many forms.
For me one of the greatest release valves I have is my work friends. Knowing that I always have this core group to help me find my way is such a relief. Add to that a great wife who also works in the field of education and can understand my frustration. And finally there are the lightning bugs! Yep you read correctly...lightning bugs! You know those bright little flickers of light that can be seen on the darkest of nights. As children they caused to run through the darkness no longer fearing what is around us but instead fixated to capture that bright little light just to hold it for a moment. And when we did catch one we wanted to share it with everyone we could run to. As adults it just takes that first flicker of the lightning bug to recapture our youth and to cause us to be filled with childish joy and laughter. It is a magical experience.
So, on my darkest of days I look for lightning bugs. Those bright shining moments from my days teaching in which I have seen those lights shine in my students. Remembering when a child jumps out of line to run over and give me a hug and ask when can they come and read with me again. Or when a student comes over to ask for help and instead explains how to work the math all by themselves. Or the time when a child answers a question for the first time, gives a speech, gets an A, wins an award, or brings you a picture they made just for you. Each of these are little lightning bugs....those bright shining spots in each of our days.
I guess it is all up to use when those bad days come. We can hang our heads and only see the darkness or we can look up and start to search for the lightning bugs.