Compassion: I don’t buy the argument that some kids fail because they don’t want a good life for themselves. Every last kid wanted to succeed. Not every kid displayed their desire the same way if at all, some kids had more foresight than others, but every kid wanted a good life for themselves. Period.
Letting go of the reigns: Your life, your performance at work, ... are not “supposed” to be a certain way. You can only do your best and you can't control inevitable external factors. You are not “supposed” to be in a certain stage of your life, you are not “supposed” to have accomplished X amount in Y time. You have what you have, you are what you are, and you have not fallen short of any expectations. This contradicts notions of destiny and fate, but this also frees you to venture onto paths that you would not have otherwise considered. You are free to experiment… to ad lib, to live outside of the box, and – in a way – set variable expectations for yourself.
Strength: You are stronger than you think. You can make yourself look a lot stronger than you feel. I watched a teaching video of myself a few days after it was filmed. In my opinion, I looked and sounded confident, purposeful, and even stern. After watching the video for a few more minutes, I suddenly realized that that was the day that I stepped out of the classroom for a minute to cry and then re-entered with what felt like a very fragile demeanor. In actuality, I did not appear to be on the verge of tears. I need to keep this mind the next time the I feel nervous; I have the ability to fake courage and the strength to push through difficult situations.
The 6th Sense: Kids are more attuned to people and their feelings than are working adults. At least my kids were.
The Present: “Right now” is “the next thing”. Each day, I tiredly assured myself that what happened today did not matter because what did matter was that I put in my hours for my first year of teaching. I thought of my first year of teaching as nothing but a stepping-stone for year two and beyond: aka, “real teaching”. After quitting, I anxiously sat around and waited for the next chapter of my life. What I should have done was realize that every day of teaching was a day for itself as well as a stepping-stone for the next day. My year spent earning my teaching credential was a year of lessons for itself along with an investment for my future. As soon as I quit my job, the next chapter of my life began. I will appreciate the moment for what it is as well as dream of an exciting future. I will appreciate who I am now as well as continually work to improve myself.
Two-minute Things: Two-minute positive things can help turn your day around when the bigger things in your day aren't going right. Call a friend to say hello; write a thank you note to someone for their good deed; jot down some ideas for a journal entry, blog post, or book; read an article in the paper. These two-minute little things make you feel good for much longer than the two-minutes that it took to complete the task and they quickly add up. The sum is much greater than the parts.
Sleep: A good night’s sleep is the best investment that you can make for yourself. No explanation necessary.
Humility: Time spent criticizing others rather than analyzing and improving yourself is time wasted. I am greatly humbled by this experience and I regret my being overly critical of others; we all experience struggle, we all are allowed to have these experiences and are allowed to make mistakes, nobody’s perfect, and in the end, self-improvement is more productive than pointing out others’ faults and hoping that they will change.