Pandemic?

I know I’m echoing millions of other people in this

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Sprinkles of Happiness

This morning, like every other school day, I turned on my computer, opened Outlook and Chrome, and went to start my day. However, I was met with the message in Chrome, “Slides has been removed. Docs has been removed. Rebecca.Taylor has been removed.” Okay…weird.

Rebecca Taylor is an add-on in Chrome that gives a colorful background on tabs and the home screen. I added it on, probably my first year of teaching. So, thinking it was a fluke, I went to add something colorful on again. Nope. Blocked by admin.

Now, first of all, I am not complaining. Because, it’s the school’s property, and I still have access to email, music, and probably social media if I tried.

But. I didn’t realize how much that splash of color affected my mood. I look at my computer now, and it’s just…blah.

Which got me thinking. What little things do we do that affect our happiness in little ways?

For me, obviously, it’s color. I like color. My classroom has colorful posters, my desk is filled with colorful sticky notes. And, up until today, my computer had a hidden splash of color as well.

Another way I try to keep my sanity throughout the day is by listening to music. I don’t love silence, and while it would be rare in my classroom anyhow, I enjoy having music playing softly on my computer.

Inspirational quotes, color, favorite music, sweet smells, alphabetized books or movies. These are things I do to add a sprinkle of happiness into my day.

What do you do?

Year Six

Today begins my sixth year of teaching.

In this time I’ve learned some hard lessons, been knocked on my ass, and fought like hell to get through to my students.

I’ve had two babies, planned a wedding, struggled with myself, and my job. I’ve fought parents, my coworkers, and students.

I’m excited to be back, but as teaching should, it’s caused some reflection.

My first year I was idealistic, bright-eyed, naive. I was given a hard roster, and I made those kids mine. I’m still in contact with many of those first four classes.

This year, I’m less idealistic, more dark-circled than bright-eyed, and battling myself and depression to begin with.

I’m no less in love with my students or why I do this.

I love literature. No doubt about it, it is my first love. I love themes, connections, authors, symbolism. But I also love being the person some of these kids trust. The pleasant face they get to see in the morning.

I’m not going to pretend this is some easy job you can phone it in for. It’s not. In fact, it’s overwhelming, exhausting, and draining. Because it matters. It’s hard because these kids–whether they admit it or not–need me, need my coworkers, need the structure and guidance we try to provide. It’s hard because some of them have dealt with things I can’t even begin to fathom.

So. Here’s to year six. To sleepless nights. To cheering on my athletes, and praising my fine arts kids. To showing up, giving them my all and then some. To remembering to take care of myself too. To reading, arguing, writing, grading, and gallons of coffee.

Here we go.