A Need To Be Inspired

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by Jeffpro57

I am not having a very good day. In fact, I am having a very bad day. I am worn down, I have no energy, I am frustrated, anxious and a little down. Its one of those days where I wonder what I am doing? I start to think my time would be better spent working in another area, in another capacity. Its a massive pity party of one, I am no fun to be around and I feel for my students and staff today.

Why am I like this? Its been a long week. Both personally and professionally, and I am ashamed to say the pain caused by a silly hockey game cut very deep. On top of the many responsibilities that come with the end of the year for an assistant principal, I have a number of issues going on with my new coaching job, my wife and I are trying to find and purchase our first house and I am having trouble dealing with it all. I am trying very hard not to let it affect my work. My students and colleagues don’t deserve anything less than the best I can offer. At this time I am lacking energy and positivity, and I need to be motivated, I need to be inspired.

This is a helpless and difficult feeling to deal with, but I have 34 years of life experience, a partner who I know would do anything to help me, I work with an amazing staff of people who are supportive and who will listen, and I have the perspective to know this will pass.
When our students come to our class, they too might be going through a great deal. Either perceived or actual, various stimuli will cause them to come with a lack of energy and focus, and will be without a feeling of purpose and motivation. They will feel the same way I do right now, but they aren’t going to have the same tools and maybe not the same strong people to lean on.

I think the key to remember is that we will need to be the inspiration they are missing and we will need to help them create that motivation required to be productive. When we have days like this, try to keep them in mind, and when we see an apathetic young man or woman come into our classrooms, draw on your feelings and what you need to get through the day. Provide that inspiration with energy, enthusiasm, compassion, humour, support, understanding or forgiveness.

I also think it is important to share these feelings with your students as well as how you deal with them. We model for our students at all times, and how we act when we are feeling down, how we cope with frustration or how we communicate with our students when we are not at our best will show them how to deal with these feelings as well.

At the beginning of every year I tell my students that when I am having a bad day, I will let them know, and I will ask them for their support. I also tell them that if they are having a bad day, to let me know, and if they aren’t comfortable they don’t have to let me know why. I tell them that if I know they are having a rough go, I will be able to give them a little more leeway on how they are acting and their productivity and also how I interact with them. What it also does for me is identify which students I may need to inspire towards action, or energize through my enthusiasm.

I have a need to be inspired today, and I hope by writing about it, I will remember it more clearly when I have a student who needs to be inspired by me.

7 thoughts on “A Need To Be Inspired

  1. It’s also comforting to know that there are many of us in the same (or very similar) situations. Thanks for writing this post. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one being pulled in 8 million different directions right now. It will all sort itself out.

  2. I’m interested in how students respond to your call to share how they are feeling. Do they do this throughout the year? Do you find they are often “having a hard time”, or do they save this for really challenging days? Do you find they react differently when it’s your challenging day?

    • Great questions. Most of the kids don’t try to abuse the privilege, has happened a couple of times but not too often. Most of the time I need to remind a kid about the idea, when they tell me they aren’t feeling well or they share something that happened that bothers them. It helps to always start the conversation with “How are you doing?” when I am dealing with a student. When they share something with me I am quick to remind them to tell me about it so I can give them a break once in a while. It has led to many students sharing with me about how they are feeling or what they are going through. When it is a challenging day for me, I often find students look out for me. I hear things like “Do your work, McLean is having a bad day” or “Don’t you remember? He isn’t feeling well!”

      Bit of a long reply, but I remember when I was working at the alternate school and I received some devastating news on the phone that caused me to tear up. My EA saw that I had received some bad news, and she took the kids to the gym to shoot some hoops. I was on the phone until well after dismissal, I collected myself, cleaned up and walked out of my room. There, waiting just outside the building was 9 or 10 of my 12 students. They wanted to see I was alright.

      Thanks for the questions, and thanks for reading!

  3. On the days that YOU need to be inspired, give the power over to your kids. They will do it over and over again. They have way more power than many of us give them credit for.

    Keep on keeping on…

  4. In sharing your need to be inspired you are inspiring. Despite the long list of “to do’s” that you have, you are still making a priority to care for your students. If this is you on a bad day, I can only imagine you on a good day. My best form of inspiration at work is to sit and enjoy a few minutes with a young student. I can’t maintain a negative mood when reading or building lego with a kindergarten class.

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