This is inspired by Jennifer Cohen over at Forbes who wrote a wonderful article on “5 Things Super Successful People Do Before 8am” (few of which I do, though I can claim #5). She includes chores like exercise, eat a healthy breakfast, map out the day–all great ideas, but not pithy enough for the average teacher I know.
Here’s my list of what the average teacher accomplishes before her first class of children crosses the threshold of her domain. These are gathered from chatting with friends and efriends on how they start their days:
- Research the answers to sixteen ‘why’ questions students asked during yesterday’s classes.
- Figure out how to run that dang iPad app students want to use.
- Wash Superman (or woman) cape.
- Close eyes for three seconds to invoke the memory of Emma [replace 'Emma' with the name of the Poster Child for why you're a teacher].
- Accomplish the equivalent of stuffing twenty people in a phone booth–which means find son/daughter’s lost iPad which must be brought to school every day, get kids off to school with packed lunches and completed homework, arrange household repairs, sort dog and husband/wife, talk significant other down from an emotional cliff, and figure out how to make coffee by pouring hot water through yesterday’s grounds (oops–forgot to buy coffee).
- Eat breakfast–real food, not leftovers or peanut butter from sandwiches.
- Move what wasn’t accomplished yesterday to today’s To Do list, which is most everything.
- Promise that today, unlike yesterday and the day before, and the day before that, you won’t say D*** five times before the first class arrives. Set a goal of only four times.
- Do emergency morning yard duty instead of the project set up you’d planned to do this morning—and the reason you came in early.
- While doing emergency morning yard duty, imitate someone being patient rather than someone chewing on their last nerve.
- Keep an open mind to all nature of miracles, no matter the shape or size.
- Answer parent email and voicemail from the prior day because you promised the Principal you would–again.
- Paste on your Reasonable face when a parent drops in for an impromptu conference, shoehorned in after s/he dropped off her/his child and before the 8am start-of-day. Stow the one that says, ‘Leave me alone’.
- Take a nap, especially if you’ve been up most of the night grading papers or preparing lesson plans.
- Smile at the parent who always talks with that irritating tone reserved for women they consider delicate.
- Solve the education problems of the world.
- As Paul Harvey said in Broadcast, “In times like these, it is good to remember that there have always been times like these”.
- Remember that–as Edwin Louis Cole once said, you don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.