Sometimes, focusing on the positive is really hard. It's hard when it seems like life keeps throwing curveballs, and it seems as though you're treading water forever, just trying to stay afloat.
I used to love my job. I used to wake up every morning excited to go in, excited to create fun lesson plans so that I could teach a lesson, but still encourage my students to love to learn. I used to stay late, either to help struggling students, or to plan lessons and get things done ahead of time. There used to be no down time in my class, no filling out worksheets or practice tests - everything was hands on and very dynamic. I used to feel supported by my principal, even though he really wasn't very hands-on and didn't give compliments frequently, when he gave them, you knew it was genuine.
This year has been different - it's been a constant battle every single day. The clientele (students) that I deal with are very different - very few seem to want to actually be there; many are forced to be in school as part of parole or a supplemental government program, and that attitude is very debilitating. This year alone, I've been spit on, called every single name you could imagine (for real - name one, I've been called it, sometimes by parents of students), had things thrown at me, etc. to which I've been told by my boss, that I need to "toughen up and deal with it." I've been pushed against a wall by a student high on PCP, only to be told that I shouldn't have removed him from my class, that he needed a warning first, and I overstepped. I was told I'd be moved downstairs next year because I'm "too good of a teacher and they don't want to lose me," only to find out that my boss is telling other people I'm being moved because I "have no heart for welfare clientele and they need someone who is warm and not completely cold to human suffering."
It's been hard to walk in and hold my head up high - it's hard to feel happy about the students who are passing the test and are opening up a new chapter in their lives based on their hard work and effort, and it's hard to want to teach. It's hard sometimes when I get overwhelmed by the students who don't give a shit about being there and feel like it deflates me from helping the ones who are there every day.
But it's those students who I hold on for and who remind me that things come in waves.
Lately being in my room has shown me that there is a conscious choice - each day, I can go in and be miserable and be focused on the ones who don't care one way or the other. Or - I can go in and spot the ones who are there every single day - who get there at 7:45 a.m. even though class started at 8, who waited outside in the cold because the guards didn't open the doors, who come with their homework completed and want feedback on how they did, the ones who went up 4 grade levels on their lowest scoring subject.
So now, I look at every day as just this karmic opportunity, where I am presented with a choice in my attitude and behavior. And I choose positivity - which at first, was me totally faking it, but now, I am actually positive about it. I'm happy to help those who want my help, and I'm not stressing over those who don't. I avoid coworkers who make me miserable, and maintain politeness while being distant.
So for those of you going through tough times - as cliche and silly as it may seem - I promise that if you make an effort to find five good things in every day, eventually, you'll start finding ten good things, and so on and so forth. Sometimes happiness requires an effort, it's not just given.
Choose positivity and choose happiness - if for nothing else, do it for the most important reason - for yourself and your health.