Tiny TweaksTo Prevent Your Past from Sabatoging Your Present

Tales from a 1st Grade Teacher

tales of a first grade teacher

Have you ever had one of those days where it seemed like the whole deck was stacked against you? Well today was one of those days…

Everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong today.  I woke up extra early with the intention of getting my work done this morning.  I walked into school feeling motivated… that is, until I reached the copy room.

A sign read – “Trouble Occurred”, that could only mean one thing, the dang copier was down AGAIN! Not the end of the world, but what a pain in my toosh! So I moseyed on down to my (very messy) classroom and began grading papers (yay!) and inputting grades (I didn’t promise an exciting post!). Well, 9:30 rolls around and in walk my little rays of sunshine! Twenty-six kiddos to call mine for eight hours a day. And boy were they CHATTY today!

It’s hard to get a word in sometimes with twenty-six, seven year olds constantly talking! Here is a short list of the terrible things that went wrong today:

1. copier down

2. student’s stealing off my desk

3. someone has been stealing the candy from my prize box

4. the kiddos had M&M cookies for snack… sugar high anyone?

5. student rolling on the floor (not quite sure why)

6. bookmobile came to town and my kids didn’t have their library cards… so we window shopped.

7. one of my students pees on the floor right in front of me (gag) – I swear I’m a nice teacher… but you try standing next to a child who is literally relieving themselves on top of your foot.

Okay, okay – I think you get the point.  Not a terrible day, but it was one of “those” days for sure. I walk out to bus duty at the end of the day only to remember that I am tutoring one of my students for half an hour after school. My shoulders drooped, and I sighed a big sigh; however, I squared my shoulders and set off to tackle my last task of the day (kind of).

I walk into my room and there sits my student, feet swinging because they don’t reach the floor, humming some unknown song and smiling. I couldn’t help but perk up a little at the sight of him. So we settled down and got right to work, we worked on phonics, word families, and decoding words.  It was the quickest half hour of my life, but also one of the most enjoyable portions of my day.

I was able to really work with this little guy one-on-one and see for myself what he is really struggling with (it’s so hard to do this with a classroom full of kiddos). This half-hour tutoring session rejuvenated me, it made me realize why I wanted to be an educator in the first place.  I want to make a difference in the lives of my students, I want to see them grow, prosper and thrive in the world!

It’s difficult sometimes to remember that feeling – it’s always in the back of my mind; but I am overwhelmed with standards, assessments, data and progress reports.  For those of you who don’t have a background in education, my point is this: you may get bogged down with your life (career, relationships, etc.) but you have to remember what made you love it in the first place.

You have to remember that you may not make a difference every minute of every day, but there will come a point in time when your actions will greatly impact another.  Never lose sight of the very foundation of “you”.  I’d like to end with a story that one of my college professors shared with me, it’s called the Starfish.

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied,
“Well, I made a difference to that one!”
The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.
adapted from the Star Thrower by Loren C. Eiseley

Wishing you the best,

Jessica Riley


*Did you like this happy story? Let Jess know your thoughts in the comments below!

If you would you like to share your own happy story, please do so – by sending it to me through the contact page.

Photo by: Robb North

For another happy story you can read:

If You Can’t Have Fun in Life What’s the Point

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