3 Gifts to Make Your Holiday a Jolly-Day

from Serenity in Design Blog

Nippy air. Football playoffs are here. One Act play competes today. The Fall Festival is Saturday (and so is the SAT.) Looking ahead to Thanksgiving (where there are 60 people to feed) and then Christmas (some shopping to do.) It is easy to just plain old lose hope.

Lose hope?!?!?

Live through it or enjoy it?
I can go through this time one day at a time and just let it come what may and live through it. Or, I can look ahead, plan ahead, pace myself and go through with a grin on my face and a hidden secret that I've decided to enjoy this holiday season.

I have two teenagers and an elementary age child. These teenagers won't be home much longer. By now I should have mastered how to truly relax and enjoy these times but the truth is, I say on the edge of hyperventilation most of the time. I really do.

Some think teachers have it easy.
So many people think teachers have it easy. A shorter work schedule. Holidays off. And perhaps there are a few souls who do live like this. But then, there are the Mama's and Grandmama's and busy Dad's and Grandad's who teach. Those brave souls who live life full tilt. In addition to our own babies, we choose to adopt the children of others into our hearts and lives and love on them.We decide to help them find their strength and never give up on them even when they've given up on themselves.

I remember when I was in the business world and was bone tired from a conference or event and would drag into work. I'd have my secretary move my appointments, “so I don't have to see anybody” and I'd immerse myself in one of those solo tasks that needed to happen in the quiet solitude of my office with the door closed. As tired as I was, soon, I'd have my music playing and would be making progress on something meaningful to me.

Lynn assisting with wreath_0765c
by Hoyasmeg on Flickr

Never alone.
Now, I come into school dead dog tired and I have to make the Herculean effort to get my attitude up, my chins (yes I said chins ;-) up, and my heart up to give 100% to these kids. Honestly, sometimes I wish I could just put on a movie and some teachers do that. But I have things to do and so do these kids. Some say “you do it to yourself” but really, I have to live this philosophy of teaching and be it or I'm just a fake. We do projects and work together doing things that have meaning.

Today is my tough day. I basically have 7 straight periods with my room full of kids – 5 classes and a study hall but during the study hall I also have a class of current event kids to help with a simulation/ game. Last period every kid in high school has study hall so my room will be packed with “Miss Vicki” dropping from their lips like tobacco juice from major leager's mustache.

I won't be a major leager – I'll be major beleagered. But then I have to grade. I stayed yesterday till 5:15 pm grading and just can't seem to get caught up. I like to comment on their blog posts (every one of them) and write notes.I want to give them the chance to do corrections, otherwise, the grade I give is a wasted opportunity to LEARN.

So, here's to you teachers.

You are FAN-tastic and I'm your fan.

I love the old spiritual

“Nobody knows the trouble I've seen
nobody knows my sorrow.” 

(great rendition here by the late great Louis Armstrong – good for a listen today)

Somebody knows the trouble I've seen
But you know what, in our case, somebody DOES know the trouble we've seen.
Other teachers, we get it. Sure, every circumstance is different and nobody's trouble is quite the same trouble. But teachers are your best audience. They understand. Lean on them.

Teacher Pyramid by Photographic memories, July 2011

You don't have to be alone all the time. I do think it is wise to steer clear of office gossips especially during the holidays.

You have enough of your own worries, you don't need to have worries of others on your back.

Gossipers are people who don't have enough life of their own so they decide to mess in the lives of others. No time for that, “mess.”

But somebody does know.

Make Your Holiday a Jolly-day
So teacher, I'm asking you to give yourself the gift of a good attitude this season. That is the gift that truly keeps on giving because it multiplies back to you. When you give the gift of a good attitude to your classroom, they give it right back. Sure, you've got a lot of work to do but you can do it in a pleasant way.

To some of you, the thought of being jolly in this season stinks. You miss family members or what used to be and you're not happy about going through another holiday alone. You are literally hurting. I'm sorry.

Realize that you may be jolly but that others may be hurting. But the best way, I've found to lift my own spirits is to do something for others. Reach out to another person. Sign up to help at a food kitchen at Christmas. Sign up to DO SOMETHING for another person. There are tons of places on Christmas Day or Thanksgiving Day that NEED YOU.

I have a sign I inherited from my Mom that says “no whining.” I have to admit, I have a problem with that sometimes. Especially as tired as I am right this moment at 6:51am getting ready to sprint off to school for a parent teacher conference.

3 Gifts to Give Your Heart This Season
1 – I'm going to decide that I'm going to give myself the gift of a good attitude.
2 – I'm going to avoid office gossips and getting into any gossip myself this season.
3 – I'm going to intentionally reach out and do things for other people this season.

As we say in South Georgia “bless your heart.” And remember that a sure fire way to bless your own heart is to bless others.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere