Sometimes, when we look at the enormity of the scope of our job as an educator, it seems an insurmountable task. One way of coping is to turn the telescope around—focus on one day at a time, one student at a time, one task at a time. Mindfulness in the present moment can be a great antidote to the sometimes overwhelming responsibility we have as teachers.
Just for today, I will live through this day in the classroom only. I will not brood about objectives or lessons or PLC meetings of yesterday, or obsess about phone conferences, IEPS, or report cards of tomorrow. I will not set long-range goals or try to tackle all of my projects at once. I know I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for the whole school year.
Just for today, I will be happy. I will offer a smile to each of my students as they enter my classroom. I will choose to see the positive in every situation put before me. If a situation occurs in which I can choose between frustration and humor, I will choose humor. If my mind (or classroom) fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill the space with sunshine.
Just for today, I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will not wish for a different class, or different administration, or different education system. I will change the things that I can and not waste my energy on things that are beyond my control.
Just for today, I will improve my mind. I will remember my training as a professional educator. I will dig into the vast resources I have collected over the years and apply them to my current situation. I will strive to put effort, thought and concentration into forming my classroom into the best possible learning environment.
Just for today, I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to my students, my colleagues, and the school community. I will not speak ill of others, even when my impulse to vent is powerful. I will speak softly and judiciously and listen intensely.
Just for today, I will do something positive to improve my health. I will take a quick walk around the playground at lunchtime. I will bypass the treats in the staff lounge. I will drink lots of water, pack a healthy lunch and take deep, slow breaths often throughout the day.
Just for today, I will gather the courage to do what is right and take responsibility for my actions. Just for today, I will be the best educator I can be.
This post is adapted from the famous “Dear Abby” column on New Year’s Resolutions.