My students and I discussed this Wednesday after I came back from being good to a good sub report.  I was pleased with the report and wanted to share why.  February is the hardest month of the school year in my opinion.  We are in the middle of winter, we are cooped up without recess from time to time, we are hitting harder work, and we are a larger group, packed together without really being able to escape each other.  I was proud of how the class acted and let them know as much.  They crave the attention, and with 30, it’s sometimes hard to find a positive that the whole group can be included in.

It got me thinking about attitude in general. What is my own attitude right now?  How do my students react to it?  How to my co-workers react to it?  What can I be doing differently?

It’s February. I know that I’m more crabby than usual. I know that my own kids are under their own stressors in school, which translates into them being crabby too.  My wife is taking an online class that’s been the hardest class I’ve ever seen, one that I thought would be great, technology integration.  I know we are all having those winter blues kinds of things going on.

So, what do I do?

First, lose some weight.  I’ve lost 8 pounds so far just cutting back on calories, not eating after 7:00 PM, and making sure the calories are good calories for my body.  I’ve not eaten as much red meat and have discovered I’ve got a rather unhealthy sugar addiction (amazing how many grams of sugar we eat in a day).

Second, get moving.  Last year, I was well on my way to 500 miles during the year, but lost mojo when school let out, and really never got it back.  This year, I’m not setting a mileage goal.  That seemed to set me up for failure as the further behind I got, the worse I felt.  I’m setting a weight goal, and my exercise goal is simply to get moving.  I’ve played basketball with my 8th graders, I’ve walked a lot, and am just trying to keep my body healthier.  It helps me sleep better, it puts me in a better mood, and just makes me feel better about life.  I’d love to run a 15K this summer, so getting my legs in shape now is a must.

Third, disconnect. I need to do this more.  I’ve got a few chats that I do enjoy, but I also know that I must pull back on some of this.  I’m not a big Facebook person, will post a few pictures on Instagram, but Twitter is like crack to me.  So much good stuff from so many awesome people.  Sometimes though, for my own mental health, it’s not a bad thing to just let it be.  As I keep pushing forward with my class, decompressing means letting it all go.

Finally, keep positive.  I’ve written about this before, but it’s so easy to get negative.  Between big classes, more changes coming, crappy weather, basketball ending, hormonal daughters, and the litany of things to get down about, I just can’t.  I enjoy the feeling to keeping myself up and focused on what the good things are in the classroom and my life.  I’ve got a beautiful family, a little piece of heaven of an acreage, a class that has a personality like no other, and my health.  I’ve got my parents still with me, my brother, nieces and nephews, and some great family members on my wife’s side too.  I’ve got a profession, that while difficult, is where I want to be.  My role may change, but if I have the chance to impact students, helping them to become better people down the road, it’s where I need to be.

So, my happy thought this Friday: keeping on through February.  It’s a grind, but after this month, days are noticeably longer, spring starts to buzz around a bit, and we start to think of summer.

And I all ready have my seeds ordered and in the house, so I’m a step ahead of that all ready! 🙂