We are just a few school days away from Thanksgiving and every teacher and student is counting down the days. For some of us the countdown is all about “the break”…getting ready for sleeping in, using the bathroom whenever we want, drinking HOT coffee out of a regular coffee mug, eating food at a table at our own pace and other basic joys of the teacher at home. We may be excited about family, friends, and a big feast. Our students may be ready for no homework, video games, travel to distant relatives, or long days spent doing what they want.
For some children (and some teachers), the break is not a break they are looking forward to. 5 days is a long time to go without consistent food, experience domestic violence, addiction, or family fighting. For some it is 5 days to survive until the safety of school returns. Many children will escalate their negative behavior at school to prepare for the transition to this tumultuous environment. Studies have been done that show that our most challenging students must create chaos at school to mentally prepare for the chaos they may experience at home. So, as teachers we must pay attention to these needy children and help them these last few days before break with a little extra kindness and patience.
This year, our team of teachers, has started a “wellness plan”. Each month, we set up 2 – 3 wellness based activities a week to keep us as healthy as possible. We share food, take a power walk together, practice the calm app in PLC, schedule nights out, and every Friday after school meet for Gratitude Friday. This has rapidly become the most important part of the week for me. We share some candy, cry, vent, laugh, and then we each take a moment to write things we are grateful for. We read them aloud and then pass our books around to write for each person present what we appreciate about them. I enter the room miserable many Friday afternoons and leave the room ready to go home and be mom. So, let’s give some thanks and gratitude for all we have. Here is my list of things I am grateful for:
- My family and its good health.
- The students in my class are growing in many areas.
- I have made a difference in people’s lives – a true gift to me.
- I have friends who I can laugh or cry with.
- Teachers have a voice growing with unity across our state and nation.
- I have food on my table, a warm house, and all I need to live a comfortable life.
- I am constantly learning new things because I am teaching new things.
- There are endless books to read that give my life meaning.
- I have health care… which is a surprisingly important thing that almost wasn’t… here in NC.
- I saw 2 former students working at fast food restaurants in the last 2 days…their joy, excitement, and enthusiasm when they saw me made every hard day worthwhile.
What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving season? Share your list here or on our social media sites! Let’s start a gratitude chain! Wait and see how powerful it can be!