Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tuesday Emotions

I have been reading a blog since my first diagnosis. This was way before I realized that I, too, may be dealing with a chronic cancer diagnosis. Turquoise Gates.
The writer of the blog, Genevieve Thul, is suggesting exploring emotions every Tuesday for a month.
I am not sure what it all means, but I, without hesitation, signed on to her proposition.
What am I feeling today?
My predominant emotion today was peace. That is- peace- until... it was interrupted by a high level of annoyance. That emotional steam was brought on by a group of students that were acting verbally cruel to one another, and were disrespecting me with lack of compliance to my directives within in my classroom. I am a middle school teacher.

I felt this type of contentment today.
I felt at ease with all my student groups in school today.
I felt very focused on what students were saying today-not just getting all the objectives out and having them engage in writer's workshop.
I was really listening to many of them, and what they had to say about anything-topics that came up were mid-terms, school, my cancer recurrence and impending treatment, and why an eighth grader can't have a latte when she needs one during school hours.

The only time that peace was shaken today was by a group that group of fifth grade writers that hurled their negativity in my classroom- like a booming train. They seemed to have momentarily railroaded my peace.

In fact, when that fifth grade group came in with their usual complaining boisterous ramblings. My patience for this type of behavior suddenly became null-zip-void. I reacted, and immediately halted all planned activities to do this one activity I felt would get them in touch with a positive attitude towards each other and their teacher-me! I thought it would get these kids to think about seeing the best in someone else. I thought it would confront their offensive ramblings.
We picked names and wrote a letter to that person that included positive compliments and words of encouragement. These were my only 2 criteria for the "letter to a fellow writer" (a classmate) 1. State the positive in that person, and 2. Give them a compliment. 7 out of 11 students could do this on the spot assignment without a problem. We read them to each other. I was amazed and stunned at the positive insight these kids had in a moments notice. I wish I had some of the letters here at home with me to quote.

I get really upset-borderline angry-when I hear the constant complaining and negative comments my students make towards each other. Lately, it had been getting out of hand with this one particular group, and I had let it go too long, and had been spending a lot of energy trying to teach over the chaos. But today something snapped in me, I and just burst forth this spontaneous assignment. I may have to re-do it with "less emotion", and more direct delivery next week.
Sadly, There were four students that somehow could not just state the positive only. They wrote a litany of complaints first as if to air the recipient's character defects, and then barely wrote the uplifting words I had so hoped to solicit with this activity.
It has gotten me to think about habits. Negative talk is like a bad habit. Easy to do-Hard to break.
It takes more effort to be positive.
Ahhh. but, overall, so much more energizing than the constant negativity.
Peace. Negativity. Miffed. Emotions can be fleeting.

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