The Scent or the Thorns?

At the end of the day, when you are reflecting on your impact, which interactions resonate the loudest with you? The countless positive interactions or the few frustrating ones?

I’m not sure how many interactions I would have during a ‘typical’ teaching day when I was in the classroom. When I think back to how my day went, it usually started about an hour prior to students arriving. I’d check my e-mails, connect with other teachers, EAs and the administration before finalizing my plans for the day.

Students would then trickle into the classroom and before I knew it, I was knee deep in the river of the day. Some days would include supervision duties, some would include extra-curricular activities. There would be days with team meetings following our afternoon dismissal and, of course, we’d have regular faculty meetings. A ‘typical’ day was (and is) anything but routine. As an educator you know the one constant is the unpredictability of your day. You have a general understanding of what to expect, but it is the minutia that makes one day different from the next.

As you are packing up from your day and you reflect on your impact, which interactions come to mind first? Do you think about the frustrations you had with a student or a group of students? Do you think about that colleague or parent that frustrated you? Do you think about your supervisor and if he or she upset you in some way?


Do you think about the number of smiles you created today? What about the number of times you laughed, either out loud or just in your head? Do you think about the students that were in the zone with the learning you facilitated? Do you think about the number of students that found safety in your presence? What about those kids who felt the warmth of your genuine care and compassion? What about those colleagues that learned from you today? Do you think about how YOU made your school a better place today? Our days are like a rose. A few sharp, prickly thorns that may jab you, coupled with a beautiful flower with a deep, rich aroma. It’s your choice what you focus on. You can acknowledge the thorns and enjoy the scent, or you can focus on the sharp pain from the stem. You choose. It only takes some intentional reflection on your part. The tough moments may be the easiest to recall, especially if the sting is as fresh as the prick of a thorn in your thumb. It’s okay to acknowledge and deal with those moments, after all, you may need a bandage! But do not obsess on the negative. Think about all the positives, all the reasons you are where you are today.

Own those moments.

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