Sunday, November 13, 2016

This teacher is a teacher, inside and out.

In a post for my grad class today, I commented about how I am the same person in the classroom as I am outside of the classroom.  I don't have a "teacher voice" and I rarely pull the "teacher" card, choosing to foster mutual respect for the space and each other, instead of a dictatorship run by someone who once slipped on banana pudding and missed almost half of a semester as a result.  After all, how much confidence would you have in that role model?

The interesting thing about the classroom relationships and my social media relationships is that they are very similar.  It is rare for me to be unhappy in a classroom, and I am conscious of my level of negativity on social media as well.  

Given the negativity that has existed over the past several months, coupled with the fact that we've been studying Happiness in Themes in Literature, there have been opportunities where I've spoken on this blog about assignments for my students that I've also posted for social media friends.  The idea of the TDO - the Talent Development Opportunity project - was tossed out to adults to see what they could do if they had the equivalent amount of one period per cycle to work on something new to them.  Just 80 Minutes became the mantra in its own group on Facebook.

Today, in a blog of one of the participants was this:

In nine weeks, I have gone from inept to confident as a paper piecer! Granted, I spent more than 80 minutes each week; most weeks, it was probably double that. But it was the discipline, the setting aside of the minimum of 80 minutes and working on learning a new skill, that paid off.

Other people explored and cooked healthier recipes, organized specific spaces with an intentional time dedicated each week, tried geocaching, and posted results.

Just for the record - I have clearly seen the benefits of focused effort over the past few weeks and I am grateful to this group for helping rediscover the concept. However, I do not plan to continue creating an accountability blog and/or FB post every Monday. I want to use those minutes (and a few more) to actually read the many books I've gathered (part of my larger plan to limit the amount of time I spend at the computer). Best wishes to all!  

The 21 Day Happiness assignment resulted in the creation of another group - 21 Days to Happiness.  Again, my friends supported the project with their own reports, as they meditated, exercised, expressed kindness, journaled or showed gratitude:

What brings you lasting happiness? For me gratitude is the essential key to happiness. Not things, not people, but being honestly thankful for everything. Even in my worst times the shear act of gratitude will totally change my experience into a peaceful experience.
Just putting that out there

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So far I have shared my gratitude with 3 individuals. Not only has it reminded me of all that I am grateful for, especially during a hard time in my life, but it has brought joy to the folks I have shared with. Can't wait to spread some more happiness!


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Soon it became evident that we started noticing kindness and happiness all around us...

I am sitting at Masonic Homes catching my breath for a moment and just witnessed the sweetest thing. This woman obviously wanted to see the foliage and flowers in the garden. So this man helped her out of the car (and caught her going both ways when she nearly fell) and then stood and talked with her until she had her fill 

This week, I am challenging myself to be more authentic and caring in this crazy world.  It's getting busy -- the holidays are coming, the semester is ending with my grad class, there are gifts to be made, purchased, and wrapped.  There is a presentation to be had at the annual state Gifted Conference this week in Harrisburg, with late nights and many connections with colleagues from various parts of the tri-state area, and lesson plans to write for a substitute who will cover in my absence.    

The world will continue to turn, and next weekend will provide a celebrated relief and proof that I survived this very busy week.  What will you have to show for your efforts?  Join me in taking some time to be grateful, drop a note to someone who won't expect it, hold a door, share an umbrella.   

Make a difference.  Even if it is small.  We all have time, no matter how busy we are.