My take on how to handle your class when you’re heart is broken.
Last Monday I got a complaint from one of the parents regarding the performance of one of the teachers. It seemed she wasn’t as lively as she supposed to be, teaching in the Toddlers’ class. I can understand the complaint but I was also aware that the reason my teacher was like that because she was so worried. Her husband was having a surgery in the hospital and she couldn’t be there by his side because she had to teach, for we were lacking of teachers.
Humans are made of emotions. All are pure and worth dealing with. But when you’re a teacher, there are rules that will keep you from looking over reacted on things. Anger and sadness are emotions that are banned to be seen by our students.
But as human, we do have to experience that as a person and deal with that stage of life. How would we help our students during their down moment when we never have one on our own? Our experiences will not only be the best teacher for us but also to our students when it’s time for them to face it. When our students can see that we can handle all the sorrows that life has to offer, they will too become motivated on dealing with theirs in positive ways.
I’ve experienced several times when I have to go to the classroom, forcing smiles when I felt like I just want to curl up in bed crying and feeling sorry for myself. When my dear Papa was in coma due to his stroke attack, when my lovely kitten was killed in a hit and run accident (well, I always cried when losing a pet, but this one was special case because she was found on the side of the street, bleeding to death) and of course when I lost my Love. Those are so far the toughest I had to experience as a teacher and a woman.
Just when those happened to me then I realize that one of our toughest job as a teacher is to be an all time cheer leader, for our mood can surely affect the class. I remember when I was in junior high and our teacher was in a very sad mood (I never know why until now actually), the room was suddenly filled with dark cloud. Nobody dared to chat around or made a joke. All were grey and gloomy for we were all sucked down to her emotion. The lesson was suddenly hard for us to understand and the clock seemed to stay still. Nobody wanted to be in that room with the temperature as cold as the Antarctica of course!
So, are we as Teachers have to live with a lie? Pretending to be this always so cheery personality? Numbing ourselves to our pain and kill the emotions? Should we all be the happy clown in the name of education?
My answer is NO! I think our students, parents and colleagues will have to see that we are human too. Who are equipped with grief, disappointment, and lost feeling . But at the same time, we cannot also carry the negativity in our heart to our class. Majority rules, and as we are the only one feeling the blue, we should be the one handling it. Especially as a teacher, the way the class is going that day will depend on how you can present yourself in the classroom.
So, here are some lovely tips I picked up over the years on how to put the broken heart away for at least during the class sessions:
Good fuel : What I meant was the food and drink that you consume before going to the class. Healthy breakfast helps! But when you’re down, treat yourself with some guilty pleasures. Chocolate and Coffee usually do me good .The sugar rush helps me to feel better. Oh I know some nutrition expert will hate me for writing this, but like I said; majority rules! The class needs you and for that you have to make the ‘sacrifice’ 😀
Emotion box : This is what I usually do. It means you leave whatever negative emotion you have for a while in a safe place outside the classroom, so they don’t follow you down the class. What is it? Well, each of us will have to find suitable way for it, a totem to represent our emotion box. Mine is an old wallet given by my mom years ago.
my totem 🙂
When my Papa has one of his Kidneys removed, I placed his cupboard’s key and a photo of all of us together there, and felt better. Since then I do it when I need some getaway, like when he had his stroke, went to a coma and I had to teach full time far from the hospital. I took that wallet, filled it with a small note about how I felt and a prayer. I put it on my desk before I went to the class room as an action saying that I leave all my worries and sadness there for a while and will get back to it once the class is over. It works like a charm every time for me ^_^
Heaven’s hand : No matter what is your belief, prayers can help you through. So asking the help from the Big Guy above before going to the class will surely put you at ease. A simple mantra like “I am strong” , “ I will have fun today”, “ Bismillah” or my own “aza aza fighting” could also be a nice saying just before opening the door to your class.
Ease your mind : Meditation is also good for you to do. Or you could do a simple breathing exercise to make you relax before going to the class. Oh, music definitely helps too, just make sure you listen to the pump up beat rather than a sad song. I recommend “Firework” by Katy Perry for it has a message that will put a smile on your face. Or silly happy songs from Ke$ha or Mika. Don’t worry about the world for a while. Sing it out loud in the bath room before class if you must; just get that Happy mood to emerge inside of you.
Good laugh : Watching or reading funny stuffs will surely helps, especially if they are your favorite ones. I love reading ‘Garfield’ and ‘Calvin & the hobbes as well as watching ‘The Pinky and the Brain’ , ‘Everybody loves Raymond’, and ‘Friends’ .The feeling that you get after it -plus that chocolate you just had 😉 – will put a smile on the face
Beautiful View : And I don’t mean the scenery by that. Go to your classroom. Look at your students’ beaming eyes. I love to gaze at my students and then realize that I have the greatest job in the world! To lead them to be whatever they want to be in their life. Talk and joke with the Class’ clown will help a lot too! And if you’re teaching Kindergarten like I do, getting a hug from your students while they say ‘I love you miss’ has never failed to put me in the mood of playing around with them! I tend to become even sillier and goofier in the playground when I am in gloomy mood for their laugh is the best analgesic ever to me!
I don’t’ feel like I am an expert on how to temporarily be the light of the class when you don’t feel like one. I don’t have any psychiatric experience or hold a degree for that cause. But I do know that our students need us, so the least we can do is put on a smile when we’re in class. You don’t have to fake your smiles and act lively. If you feel blue, you don’t have to pretend but you owe it to them too to at least look ‘civil’ in the classroom. I think our students can sense when we are not in the mood and will give us a break, so it should not hurt us to try to at least smile sincerely to them right? Beside to my understanding and experiences, us teachers love being in class! Our students have been proven to help us go through anything or at least take our mind out of it for a brief.
But still then, at the end of the day, we need to work things out. Deal with our issues and rise above the matters. Because it is the only way for us to get back to our track and go back at being the most favorite teacher to our students ^_*
If the clouds don’t clear, we shall rise above it!
Aza aza fighting Everybody!