musings,  teaching

the best part of waking up

…is a message on your cup.

Not just your name scrawled in black Sharpie by a Starbucks barista (though the name mistakes can be funny) or America Runs on Dunkin, but a reminder to set a positive tone for the day.

When I saw this cute mug on Etsy, memories of signing library book cards with a freshly sharpened number 2 pencil and pecking out “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” on a typewriter popped into my head. I thought, “this would make a great gift for teacher friends!”

peptalkmugMug by CJayneTeach

After I read the message inscribed on the index card lines, I thought “yup, cute gift…and powerful message.” It reminded me of setting the tone of the school day as if setting an intention for a yoga class. I like to start my school days with a solitary walk from the T, planning my day while surrounded by the peace and quiet of the Boston Common and Bay Village. I think about how to make lessons run smoothly and motivate students, how to make meetings and events run smoothly and motivate teachers (as a grade team leader), and how to make internal assessments, exam review, CAS, extended essay, and various IB components run smoothly and motivate students and teachers (as an IB coordinator). It’s easy to forget to set that intention and give way to worries about all of those things.

I could get behind this coffee mug’s intention: “You are awesome. Your students are learning from you. And today is going to be a good day.”

It evokes memories of a mentor teacher who used to used to start each school day imagining herself as the queen of her classroom and repeating “I am tough. I am strong. I own this.” This confidence-building phrase has stuck with me over the past six years, picking up a companion idea of “everything is going to be okay” in this little queendom that is my classroom. Recently, my old roommate helped reinforce the idea of trading agitation for calm + finding strength in peacefulness by sharing the mantra “I am peaceful. I am grateful” that she’d picked up at a yoga retreat.

So after this February break is over and I’m back to morning coffee and walks in the snow to school, I’ll remember to listen to the coffee mug: not to think of myself as awesome all the time, but to remember to stay positive and keep finding those moments of awesomeness in teaching, learning, and leading.

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