Today was a good day.
That’s such a simple sentence, and perhaps too often we say it without really meaning it. It’s sort of the canned answer that you give when someone asks you, “How was your day?”
It’s not wrong or impolite to say that your day was “good,” but it’s taken with the same grain of salt as, “Good and yours?”
But when I say my day was good, I mean that my day was filled with goodness. My students continue to fill my day with joy, so I left the last class period of the day feeling accomplished and motivated to keep the good times rolling. But on this particular day, it was an experience after school that caused me to stop and reflect on the joy of where I am in my career.
I have been a department head in the past, but everyone on the team was experienced and the term “mentor” was not quite appropriate for the job that I performed in that capacity. With three new English teachers to our high school, I’m placed in a new domain. I’ve been doing my best at running our departmental meetings and have been hoping that I’ve given the support that my team needs. If any of the are like me, I was far too shy to reach out to the other teachers or administration, so in my head I am trying to think two or three steps ahead: What will they need? What did I struggle with? What questions would I be asking in this situation if I were brand new?
Today I had one of the English teachers approach me with the general concern of being overwhelmed and asking for general advice about how to approach her classes. I know that she’s a good teacher and is extremely capable, and I admire her so much for saying, “I could use some support.” We talked about several strategies from wide-ranging topics from lesson planning to pacing to online resources to classroom management. I reassured her that she was not alone.
At the end of our time together, she left my room thanking me for the time and advice. And while I am not trying to pat myself on the back, I felt good about myself and the advice that I gave her. I felt as though I was able to talk with her and not just throw my hands up and say, “Well if you think YOU’RE busy, just take a look at me!” Sadly, I’ve been on the receiving side of this mindset: I’m paid to be a support to you, but I’d rather talk about me. Talk about a way to both a) make me feel as though there’s something wrong with me for feeling the way that I do, and b) as if I am can never come to you as my supervisor and feel comfortable about it!
As I sit on my couch, in my pajamas at 6:45 pm with a brownie sitting next to a pile of 24 AP Language & Composition Synthesis Essays ready to be graded, I am not tired, I am not resentful, and I am not wishing for something more. I take that back; I am wishing for more: more of that good feeling!