Thursday, May 1, 2014

Being Mindful in May

As long as I can remember, I have been in love with the feeling of the end of the school year. Not just the emotional feelings of anticipation and reflection, but the literal, physical feeling in the air. When I think of peace, when I go to my happy place, it isn't the beach or forest or mountain peak; no, it's Ward Elementary School, doors and windows open, a breeze so warm you could smell it coming, and classrooms bathed in sunlight. That, my friends, is my bliss. (Also, I've never admitted that to anyone since it reveals what a colossal nerd I really am.)
 
My end-of-the-year days as a student were obviously very different from those same days I now experience as a teacher. At the end of each of the past five years, rather than relishing in the delicious atmosphere of a school in late Spring, I have trudged through the swamp of grades and year-end tasks. I have loathed the hours wasted counting floor tiles while pacing during state assessments. I have cringed while clicking calendar invites for seemingly endless meetings and practices and professional development days. I have given in to counting down right alongside my students, if not for them. 

Yesterday, a senior told me we had twenty-four days of school left. I corrected her: Twenty-two. 

So what happened? Do I hate my job? No. Do I hate my kids? Quite the opposite. What's my deal? 

Mindlessness. 

I pledged just a few short months ago to stop wishing my life away. I realized just a few short weeks ago that I'm older than I ever wanted to be, my "baby" is growing up, and I'm already nearly 25% finished with my career. Why in the universe am I counting down days? 

It's just too easy to go with the flow of the countdown. We are constantly waiting for the next day, the next week, the next phase of our lives. We can't be content with the here and now; it's why we surround ourselves with distractions and entertainment all day, rather than allowing ourselves to just be, to exist and celebrate that existence. It's why I'm planning for tomorrow before I've tucked away today. It's why I know that we now only have twenty-one days of the school year remaining. 

So today, on the first day of May, my former favorite month of the entire year, I am recommitting myself to mindfulness. For each day of Mindful May, I vow to really look my students, each one, in the eye, and know that once these twenty-one days are gone, my classroom and my life will never be the same because of them. I vow to make these days as meaningful and positive as possible, and to be as kind as I can in the short time I have left with these classes. I vow to be mindful of the sunshine, to open the windows even if it means I might get in trouble, to make for my students the memories I have of my own favorite teachers through the years. 

May your month be as mindful as I intend mine to be. 

2 comments:

  1. What a great look to look at this. You put it in such a positive way. I'm counting day the days which is not good because I don't want to wish my life away. I'm just ready for a break that is longer than a weekend.

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  2. I'm a teacher as well, and this post has really made me want to rethink how I look at my students on Monday. Instead of worrying about just getting through the day, I need to change my tone and worry about what I can teacher them with what little time I have left. Thanks for helping me with my attitude adjustment.

    {www.thislifeofmineblog.com

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