Monday, July 14, 2014

Positive Vibes.

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. 


What are some of the ways you bounce back from tough times? 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Exploring, Carbs, and Too Many Pictures - Part Two of Day Four of Paris.

When Edwin and I finished up browsing at Shakespeare and Co. (check it in the first part of  this two part post) which as I said, was highly shortened because the place was PACKED, we headed across the street and over a bridge to Notre Dame. It was another totally surreal experience, even as we avoided the crowds and the street vendors lined up along the street selling their original art (that was strangely the same at every stand), old books, I heart Paris or "Bonjour!" t-shirts, etc. 

As we got closer and closer, we weren't even speaking to each other - both of us were just in absolute awe, phones in hand (for moi, it was phone + Nikon, and the struggle was real) and taking a million pictures at a time.

Like basically everything else that we saw while we were in Paris, it was incredible to see all of these things that I had seen pictures of, in the background of a movie, or in a French textbook, but never saw firsthand.

The Seine and Notre Dame - getting closer (though at this point, it still wasn't that close, it is just immense).

Notre Dame was stunningly made, with the famous gargoyles on display, and the flying buttresses that were so intricate. When we finally did talk to each other, we commented on how buildings like this just don't exist in the United States.

Seriously, this is so gorgeous - and it was fascinating to see people of all different cultures, and I assume religions, gathered at a religious place to admire its beauty and incredible architecture.

Close-ups of the architecture (and some sun glare, which I couldn't seem to avoid).

This was just part of the line - it wrapped at least three blocks down. Needless to say, we did not go inside. This was also the only time that we encountered one of the Parisian scams that we had been warned about (first, someone offering to make me a free friendship bracelet, then someone asking me to sign their petition).

And then, since it was about 1:30 p.m. and I was on the eating schedule of a 15 year old boy, we decided to head  to Galette Cafe to take advantage of more carbs. Please note that while in Paris, I rarely wore much makeup beyond concealer and never did my hair - so this is in fair warning!

Une beure sel crepe.

Une fleur de sel crepe (salted caramel, which was to DIE for).

From there, we (shocker!) walked more, over to the Louvre, which I did not realize is massive. Like, would take you over two weeks to just have a glance at every piece there. I knew it was big, but didn't know it was THAT massive. 


There were gorgeous sculptures of famous and prominent French men carved and prominently displayed. 

We didn't go inside the Louvre either, because that had a FIVE HOUR WAIT, but we did see the Mona Lisa as we walked to Pierre Hermé for macarons.

Womp, womp - I know. 

And that is where I will cap this post - the next will finish up day four (because seriously, I have way too many more pictures to post on this day alone!) and go onto oucinquième jour.