Sometimes it’s encouraging stuff and dreams of the future. Most of the time it’s angry nonsense directed at myself. Other than the occasional grumbling at other drivers on the road, I’m mostly having fake disputes in my head or out loud in my car with people I didn’t verbally correct in the past. Sometimes I’m playing out a fictitious dispute in the future. Real oddball behavior.
Here’s the thing, I pick my battles. There are plenty of people out there that are ready to engage in conflict at the slightest provocation. Flip out first, ask questions later. That’s not me. Life isn’t smooth. I get that; however, things move much quicker when you let the things that don’t matter go.
If you have ever gotten into an argument with a student, coworker, or friend about politics or ethics, that is what I’m talking about. If you saying that unemployment is at a record low and someone responds with “Obama is the worst president of all time,” perhaps you should let that one go. Nothing you say is going to change their mind and POTUS doesn’t need you to defend his honor against Jeff from accounting. When a student says “we shouldn’t have homework,” maybe let that wash over you. Homework makes sense to me now, it didn’t then. They haven’t been alive long enough. Let them think they won that one and give them homework anyway. Sure, explain why, but no need to get your pressure up over it.
If emotional stress impacts our students' ability to do their job, it affects yours too. You're just older, not different.
The downside to letting all that garbage clang around in your head all day is that sometimes your thoughts will wake you up in the middle of the night and you’ll be angry for reasons you don’t know or understand. Students think teachers are all smiles and shoulder pats, but don’t see all the steering wheel punching and shower yelling that happens after hours. Is that just me? I really hope not, but maybe it is.
Being a teacher means hearing absurd, wrong things all day from people that don’t read that well. I’m including adults in that blanket category too. Letting that sink in becomes toxic to you and you become toxic to others. This is why talking things out with people you trust is important. You have to let some of that negative energy out before it turns you into a crazy person. Nobody wants to talk to someone already talking to themselves.
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