Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Bend or Snap Method...

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If successful elementary teachers had to be summed up in one word, it would probably be, "flexible." Any given day, there are one billion things that have to be monitored, adjusted, planned for, adapted, modified, and differentiated. There are unexpected meetings, a kid may puke on your carpet, a mom drops off lunch and wants to visit during your math lesson, and the list goes on and on. There are over 50 adults and hundreds of children in one building and do not get me started on the copiers...and so the odds are, something will not go as planned. You can blame it on miscommunication, multiple personalities, or just plain life, but the most important thing is not that you sometimes get derailed, but how you react respond to it.

I was up at school working the other day and got derailed. The reason I jumped the tracks this given time is irrelevant, but suffice it to say I lost my ever-loving mind. I closed my door, broke down into tears, and stood frozen in the middle of my room not knowing what to do next. I am prone to strong feelings, so this is kind of normal operating procedure for me, but it can make those around me uncomfortable...

So, what did I do?

I put on my sunglasses, walked straight out the front of the building, and went to get a pedicure. 
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I'm sure I looked like a trainwreck sitting in that chair with the swollen eyes and red nose as the lady tried to convince me that I SURELY needed my eyebrows taken care of also, but when I left, I was calmer, had delightful coral-hued toes, and was ready to face my children. Later, I was texting a friend and I replayed the scene. When I told her I just left and went to a nail salon, she replied, "Well, that certainly is the Legally Blonde way of handling problems."

I suppose it was. I love that movie. I love how Elle Woods does not apologize for who she is, but uses her unique talents (and a little bit of flair) to help people around her. She remains positive, upbeat, and roots for the underdog. She is self-deprecating and kind, and strives to bring out the best in other people. She befriends Paulette, works to cheer her up, and teaches her the Bend and Snap.
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Allow me to borrow that for the point of this entire ridiculous blog post. 

To be a successful teacher human, one must remain flexible. If you do not allow yourself to bend, you will surely snap. Not everything will go your way. Not every decision that is made is the one YOU would have made. Not every lesson will go how you planned it, not every anchor chart will look like Cara Carroll's, and not every day will be Instagrammable. You must bend. You must sway. You must roll with it, go with the flow, maybe even shimmy a little. The alternative is you snap. You break. You give up, you throw a fit, or you doubt why you do it at all. And trust me sweet friends, you must never doubt why you do it, because those babies will be in your rooms in two weeks and you will be reminded. 
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Take the time to take care of yourself. Fix your hair a different way, add a little pink to your wardrobe, surround yourself with friends that get you and allow you to be yourself, and enjoy your family. Listen to good music, drink good coffee and good wine (ask if you need recommendations). 

"Oh, and whoever said that orange is the new pink is seriously disturbed."


Techyturner said...

Thank you for the reminder to bend so as to not snap later. When I had a classroom full of students, I've had to remind myself I'll be okay, keep calm, and move through the situation.
Do you have a method to remind yourself to stay calm and collected when faced with a stressful event?
I will be sharing this post.

Techyturner said...

BTW, orange is my pink!

mandytaylor said...

Rodney, I definitely bend all day long as an Instructional Coach! Nothing is ever the same and if I don't stay flexible, I will surely lose my mind! I try to keep things in perspective constantly: what is best for kids, what can I control, where is my energy best spent...and, I get pedicures. Whatever. :)

Kathy said...

THANK-YOU!!! I laughed when I read your delightful post! I love Elle Woods as well and just went and did the pedicure thing on Monday. This is not my go-to solution, but I have a shower to attend today and decided some self-care was in order. Best idea ever and as a teacher of young children, I need to continue to "bend" but also take care of me a bit! I bend a bit better at school than at home. Good philosophy for all of life!