The Day Began Gently
They had to leave early, so it was my job to get him up. With the clocks being pushed forward he was having a more difficult time waking up. We all were. But he is only four, so he needs a bit more sleep. I curled up next to him and waited. He has grown so much in the past year, but he is still my little boy.
Watching him gradually wake up is something I’m sure I won’t get to do much longer. But I did on this day. And I will as longs as he allows me. After snuggling for about ten minutes I carried him downstairs. By 7am my wife and kids were on their way to school.
I had a meeting after school so I arrived home a little later than usual. As I pulled into the driveway I noticed my son had the door open and he ran out to hug me. Usually my daughter is the first to greet me, but she had her headphones on and must not have heard me pull up.
For the rest of the evening my son clung to me like he hadn’t in quite a while. He kept telling me over and over again how much he had missed me. And at first I could not figure out why. But then it hit me. I think it had everything to do with how our day began.
Why can’t we do the same for our students, our staff, ourselves? I see no reason why we can’t. It may take some habit shifting and it may take some mindset changes. But I believe, if we work hard enough at it, we can do it.
Our first encounters with them each day should be maginficent. We must let them know that we are ecstatic that they came. This can be demonstrated through a bright smile, a high five or maybe even a warm hug. We must remember that just a few thoughtful seconds may determine how the rest of their day goes. For better or for worse.
It is not our job or our right to immediately point out their shortcomings. Maybe they didn’t do their homework. Find a way to help them get it completed. Maybe they are angry when they first enter the building or classroom. Find a way to calm them down. At the very least, we must give them an ear to listen.
It is our job to serve them. Not vice versa. Yet for some reason we often get this confused. Pick a few students tomorrow and do everything you can to see that the first few seconds or minutes of their day are freakin’ amazing. Then at the end of the day check in with their teacher or even better, check in with them.
Make sure that your first encounter with a staff member has nothing to do with school. Why? Because the rest of their day is going to be about school. Because most likely, a portion of their evening was about school. And because we mustn’t every forget that school is what we do, it is not who we are.
Ask about their family. Find out how they are feeling. Show that you know about them than their data and what lesson they’re on. Of course it is our job to know these things. But who wants to begin their day like that? I sure don’t. And you can be certain that your staff doesn’t.
Yes, I am guilty of having a restless mind that never stops working and has a hard time relaxing. And I often wake up with a to do list on my mind. That is no fun. And that is why there are many mornings that I do not look forward to getting out of bed. But I am in complete control of this.
On mornings that I wake up and focus my attention on something other than school, I feel better. Some mornings, my wife is able to coax me into watching a short sitcom with her. I should listen to her more often. One recent morning I woke my daughter up early and we made pancakes and bacon together. It was great!
Yes, it is good to love our jobs. But we must also give ourselves reasons to wake up in the morning that are totally unrelated to what we do for a living. Once we start doing this, I think we will bounce out of bed more quickly and hit the snooze button less frequently. I know I will
Tomorrow morning starts tonight. Plan right now how you are going to make it go well for your students, your staff and yourself. I may not get to lie next to my son as he gradually awakes. But I will hug him and kiss him the first chance I get. He may not run to greet me when I am pulling in the driveway. But I can run to him once I open the front door. And he might not tell me over and over again how much he missed me. But I can tell him.
Tomorrow is going to be wonderful and it is up to us to make it so. We can’t wait and simply expect it to happen. It is our job to see that it does.
And have a great morning!