I am ashamed to write this. Ashamed that I behaved in this manner years ago.
Back in the 80’s, we had a teacher in our school who was always smiling. She smiled all the time. I always wondered why she was so cheerful. Didn’t she realize how annoying she was? Didn’t she realize that people had problems? To put an end to her everlasting cheerfulness, a colleague and I decided we were going to “get her.” We were in the grade below her, and we decided we were going to put the worst kids in her class, and force her to stop being so cheerful.
Well, our plan didn’t work, she still smiled, and she continued to annoy me until she moved out of the state.
Fast forward twenty + years. I am now the cheerful teacher. I am the teacher who is always smiling, no matter how “bad” my kids are. I am the positive, (most of the time), one who tries to make the best of a bad situation. I am the one greeting students and staff alike with a cheerful “Good Morning”, even if I don’t receive a response.
I am not the only cheerful one in my school, there are a few of us. I am sure there are teachers who find us annoying, as I did that teacher from long ago. We have been asked why we are so cheerful. They have tried repeatedly to drag us to the dark side, but we continue to go towards the light.:)
I can’t tell you when my attitude changed. I just know that noone wants to spend 6 1/2 hours a day with a miserable person. I thought about my own children being stuck with a teacher like that. In this climate of teacher-bashing, it can be difficult to remain positive.
In the years that I have been teaching I have had my share of personal problems, but I have not let them affect the way I treat my students. I have experienced divorce, death of a parent, and illness. I have not allowed any of these issues to treat my students with any less respect and love than I was used to giving. As a matter of fact, being around my students caused me to be sucked into their world, and to forget about mine for a little while.
Am I perfect? No! Do I have a grin plastered on my face all day? No!
But I do laugh, smile, and compliment our kids every chance I get. Wherever that teacher is from long ago, I hope she is still smiling. I wish I could tell her I have joined the ranks of the cheerful teacher and that I am never going over to the dark side again! 🙂