If you've every read any post I have ever written before, you may have a sense that I am a girl who likes to be in control of things. I like order and focus and a clear plan of action. However, I have been reminded in so many ways over the past month or so that I simply can't have all those things all the time. Our English team at the middle school has been doing a book study on Deliberate Optimism by Debbie Silver, Jack Berckemeyer, and Judith Baenen since January and today in our discussion I was reminded all over again that I may not always get to make the choices, but I definitely get to choose how I live with them. In honor of my fellow teachers, I would like to recommit myself today to being more deliberately optimistic. We may not get to make all the choices, and we may sometimes feel like we're under attack with all the choices that are being made for us. I'm not saying we need to just lay down and take that. I'm simply saying that there are adult-centered mindsets and then there are student-centered mindsets, and we have to remember why we choose to get up and walk into our classrooms each and every day.
So here's the Serenity Prayer I've been saying recently:
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...
- I can't change the fact that I have to give a state mandated standardized test that takes away from instructional time.
- I can't change the fact that this legislative session has felt like an attack on my professionalism.
- I can't change the fact that there are more administrative tasks to be done in my classroom than hours in a day.
Courage to change the things I can...
- I can change my attitude toward tasks I'd rather not complete.
- I can change my emotional reaction to things beyond my control.
- I can change my approach to each day by choosing to focus on the positive.
And wisdom to know the difference...
This is the real struggle. I find that it's in my nature to want to fix things that aren't working. However, there are moments when we just have to realize that, while parts of the system are struggling, there are some really awesome bright spots in education. There are fantastic educators making amazing, student-centered choices everyday in public education, and I want to be one of those people. I want to keep making lemonade out of my lemons. I had a very awesome, very student-centered principal who used to start every morning by reminding the students and teachers to "Make it a great day or not; the choice is yours." I've been so conscious of that choice lately. I hope I can find the serenity to always make the right ones.