Don’t Poke Bears – Or Irritable Teachers

It was sunny this week. And warm. That’s usually a good thing–not this week. With all the recent weather upsets, my students hadn’t had a full week at school in some time. Accustomed to snow days, delays, and dismissals, they weren’t sure how to handle a full 5 days back in the classroom; hell, even I wasn’t at my best. Bad days at school were compounded by bad evenings. It was rubbish. Fortunately, I’ve had so many bad days and weeks this year that I’ve learned that rather than get stroppy, I should reevaluate things.

Using the same interventions I practice in the classroom, I tried to uncover the stimuli or triggers:”what is making me so frustrated? Why am I so irritable and shiftless?”

I discovered a few underlying causes.

Fond of lists, I decided to take a line from an article I read recently and create a TO-DON’T List. I love TO-DO lists and am never more productive than when I have one in my pocket or on my desk. I figured that a list of things not to do would be equally beneficial.

1. DON’T wait – There will never be a perfect opportunity. Do it now. Instead of waiting for more money, more time, or a more favorable attitude, quit being a git and just do it. There will always be something in the way if you look for it, so quit looking.

2. DON’T worry about others’ opinions – Regardless of what any one else may think, you are an incredible person. If you’re happy with who you are and what you’re doing, then it doesn’t matter what anyone else may say or think.

3. DON’T think that everyone has an opinion – Accept that you may be beneath others’ gaze. Not being acknowledged doesn’t mean you’re being slighted or being thought ill of, you may not be thought of at all. This isn’t a bad thing. Each person has their own story, their own worries and fears and needs, and you may not be a part of that story–it doesn’t make it any less important.

4. DON’T hide behind a smile – Emotions are okay. It isn’t healthy or necessary to pretend like you never feel anger or sorrow. Let it out. The people around you who care will be accepting, and you’ll learn who actually has your back.

5. DON’T give away affection and attention – This is a big one. Quit giving away attention and affection to those unwilling or unable to return it. Your time, respect, and affection are too precious to be wasted on people who have no intention of returning it.

6. DON’T put everyone else first – Stop putting everyone else first. Take time to be selfish. Do what you want, when you want it. You’ll never be happy if you sacrifice yourself for others all the time. Instead of always giving, take something for once.

7. DON’T be lazy – It’s too easy to watch Netflix all day. There are so many worthwhile opportunities to pursue. Don’t let a long day at work, a bad mood, or a new season of Game of Thrones stop you from accomplishing something noteworthy. Get up off your ass and be somebody worth knowing.

8. DON’T focus on past errors – Mistakes are a part of life. A past mistake, even if it was a large one, should never stop you from taking a risk. Let go of the past in order to prevent it from complicating the future.

This is a pretty good start. I’ll update this as a I go along and may end up creating a static page for the TO-DON’T List. Now it’s your turn. What would you add to your TO-DON’T List?


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