March 22, 2017 | Leave a comment Why do I say this: “Be good. Be wise. Be jubilant?” Because they make a difference. And they don’t come naturally. Not all the time (not for me, anyway). Everyone messes up sometimes. Everyone. It’s part of being human. I’m not saying that as an excuse, just a reality. I don’t want to be good, wise, and jubilant, all at once, every day. I want to be self-serving, reckless, and lazy. I want to get drunk, drive 100 mph, and then, sit on the couch watching MMA and eat ice cream till all hours, and finally, drag my carcass into my classroom in a haze and hand out worthless worksheets. That sounds like fun, right? (yeah, in a messed up kind of way) Hedonism run amok. But I don’t actually live like that. Because beer guzzling, fast driving, lazy chocolate sundae eating man is not good for the world. It’s not good for kids. (Just to be clear, I’m not calling sundae eating, beer drinking, or fast driving wrong, necessarily — they all have their place in the world) I chose that list to make the point. If the guy in my portrayal above is the unproductive teacher, what does he or she look like on the better side of the picture? Be good. For me, that’s things like, make sure I listen to kids. See, I don’t naturally do that. I have to make myself listen. It’s hard work. Some teachers look like it’s the most natural thing in the world to listen to young people, but that ain’t me. I hope one day someone looks at me and says, “It comes easy to you.” Then, I’ll know I have arrived. Be wise. Be a problem solver. That’s hard. I want someone else to come up with the solution and hand it all tied up with a bow on top. But teaching just isn’t like that (maybe sometimes). I have to reach into my bag of tricks and try to work things out. I have to make lists, look things up, call parents and read books. Be jubilant. Who wants to get excited about maps, graphs, and charts? It might be hard, but it’s worth it. When I bring the excitement, students are way better behaved. They learn more too. All those things in that list are things I mess up on. But you might find those easy. If you do, I bet you have some other teaching things that give you fits. Things that you have to work at. The nice thing is this. The more we work at things, the better we get at them. Where is it a challenge for you to be good (think — be selfless)? If you take a second and make a list, I bet you might have a teaching epiphany. When does your wisdom go out the window? Again, make a quick list. More epiphanies await. Why does your passion and excitement (which I call being jubilant) dry up when you need it so much? Guess what, I’m still going to say make a list. On a side note: a teacher let me know that writing this down doesn’t work for her, but she talks things out with friends. True, this is not a one-size-fits-all thing. Some people really must talk this out with someone. Others need to write it out. Whatever the case, scan your goodness, wisdom, and jubilance. Improving any one of them will make you a better teacher and less stressed. Improve them all and you won’t believe the person you can be. Be good. Be wise. Be jubilant. Art P.S. What’s your biggest challenge right now? Hit reply and let me know; even if it’s just a few words. P.S.S. – Want a class that handles the school day better? Download bit.ly/40brainbreaks and print it out. Brain breaks can work magic on your class.