I am guessing they you probably have heard of the video game Fortnite. You may have even heard of “Taking the L.” This is a dance for players to rub in the loss or defeat of another player. Charming, right? My friend told me this dance was banned in her son’s school. I’d like to ban the flossing dance, but that’s because I just can’t for the life of me master those silly little moves.
We all had some losses this year: the lesson that flopped, the idea that failed, and the goal we were unable to achieve. I tend to beat myself up for the things that went wrong and I often forget to celebrate the things that went well. I think a lot of you out there are the same. So here is my list of things I’m grateful for NOT losing.
- Perspective: I’m working for the benefit of the children. The children aren’t working for the benefit of me. It’s easy to get frustrated when children don’t do what we want. It’s natural. But I’m proud of the times I was able to take a deep breath, make a joke and give a child a second chance.
- Patience: I would be lying if I said I have never lost my patience from time to time. I am human after all. But patience is a virtue and it’s easier to be patient when I’m not sweating the small stuff.
- Sense of humor: Sometimes the only sense you can find is a sense of humor.
- Creativity: I don’t just mean creativity in the way that immediately comes to mind, the amazing bulletin boards and the clever lessons. I’m talking about creative problem solving. There are a lot of times when it feels like we as educators come across unsolvable problems. I am going to continue to challenge myself to find creative solutions. I’m going to “Think outside the box” as we say at V-SEA (Verona Summer Enrichment Academy).
- Friendships: If I had one piece of advice to give to a new teacher, it would be this: Don’t isolate yourself. We spend a lot of time with young people, and while young people inspire us with their boundless energy, endless possibilities, and unflagging optimism, the fact is that every teacher needs grown-up time. Don’t spend every lunchtime wolfing down your food as you accomplish your to-do list. Sit down, relax, eat like a civilized person, and cultivate your friendships. You deserve it and your teaching (and digestion) will be better for it.
The truth is we could all make a list of disappointments and successes and that’s just how this business goes. Forget the mistake and remember the lesson. Celebrate your victories and build on them. As for me, I’m going to do my best to relax this summer. I hope that September finds us all refreshed, renewed, and ready to meet the challenges of a new year.
Jennifer Kleinknecht has been the media specialist at H.B. Whitehorne Middle School since 2007. She writes about life as a school librarian on her blog, “The ‘Yes’ Librarian”.