Persevering Through the Hard Days

You know those days when your kids finally leave and you feel as though your brain is fried, your energy is gone, and you don’t know how you’re going to make it to tomorrow? Those days suck and I’m having one today. Even sitting down to write this blog my brain feels as though it’s stuck on freeze and I can’t get my thoughts out. But here we go..

Somehow college fails to prepare or warn us how draining it can feel to give 110% of your energy to 26+ students every single day. 

They don’t tell you how personally you will take each and every one of their behaviors no matter how much training & knowledge & understanding you have that it’s not you.

They don’t tell you that there will never be enough time in the day to plan & prepare your lessons, send e-mails, contact families, be in meetings, organize your classroom, put grades in, etc. etc. etc.

They don’t teach you how to deal with conflicts. Or how to handle parents. Or how to help kids process their emotions. Yet all of these fall on us.

They teach you content. They teach you to differentiate. They teach you how to plan elaborate lessons as if we could spend endless hours planning each week.

They teach you the bare bones and they leave out how draining it can feel to want to try to be everything and more for these kiddos who walk through your door. To try and teach them to pursue a life filled with learning. To want to be there every time someone says or does something unkind. To want to enrich them & guide them through life’s challenges and celebrate their accomplishments in and out of the classroom. 

And at the end of the day, you will never amount to that person because that person doesn’t exist. You can do as much as you can but you can’t do it all. You will always feel like you let someone down or that you should have done more or you could have handled a situation better after the fact. But nobody and no educator, no parent, no sibling, no child, no person is perfect and it is unrealistic to expect that of ourselves. Yet, I put this pressure on myself. And it is multiplied when I have days like today where I am just drained. 

One of my all time favorite books growing up was Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse. I saw it at the Children’s Theater in first grade for a field trip and I went so far as to tell my teacher to call me Lilly and I wrote Lilly on every single one of my papers. I carried a purple purse around and I’m sure my parents had that book memorized from how often I made them read it.

And to this day it is still one of my favorites. Throughout the story, Lilly is having a rough day and her teacher, Mr. Slinger, gets down on her level and says, “today was a difficult day. Tomorrow will be better.”

On these days, I remind of that. We all have difficult days. Kids have difficult days. Adults have difficult days. Teachers have difficult days. Non-teachers have difficult days. We’re all just doing our best. And tomorrow is a new day.

There’s no philosophical answer to how I cope with hard days. While I can sit here and list out ways to de-stress or how to not bring work home with you, we all know those things. I don’t have to tell you.

But I remind myself I have these hard days because I care. I care so much about every student who comes into my room. I want them to feel the way I felt every day walking into school. I want them to come back and say hi years after they’ve left my class because they knew I cared about them, not just their grades.

Being a teacher is hard. Being a kid in this world is hard. Being a parent in this world is hard. And we’re all doing our best.

The days may feel as though they’re creeping by but the years go fast. 

I think back to the first grade me who couldn’t wait to wake up in the morning for a new day of school, the me who would be ecstatic I even have my own classroom and became a teacher. She would tell the 26 year old drained me that I finally got everything I dreamed of and even on the tough days it’s worth it.

Because tomorrow will be better.



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