A couple weekends ago, my teacher friend and I engaged in a fun day of learning on a Saturday. I had to get up at 6:30 on a Saturday and had to put on a bra and makeup on my day off. I totally did not have a shot of whiskey in my coffee or a super sugary filled donut for breakfast.
One of the break out sessions we signed up for was all about Social Emotional Learning for the educator. They sold the class like we would learn skills to feed our souls and regenerate our purpose.
Pretty quickly, we called bullshit.
After reading an article that stated my teacher burnout was due to my low social emotional intelligence, I pretty much mentally checked out.
At the end of the session, we were handed a gorgeous color copy (you know you’re a teacher when a piece of paper has more value solely due to it being printed in color) of The 30 Day Happy Teacher Challenge.
We looked at each other like, “Holy shit, yes!”
We both need more happiness in our lives in regards to our school year, so we were so down for the challenge.
That is, until we actually read the “challenges”.
Double lame with some “fuck that” sprinkled on top is what this challenge consisted of.
Most of the “challenges” are things I do every single day, because they are what good teachers, who have a solid pedagogy, do. And, some of them, like assigning an exit ticket (one or two questions to gauge understanding) depress the ever-loving crap out of me a lot of the time.
When we saw, “Happy Teacher Challenge”, we both thought it had to involve alcohol, days off, and lots of chocolate. Not one of those things are included.
Here’s the challenge:
I blurred out the copyright name, because I don’t want to shame this teacher. I’m sure they meant well, but, well, just, no.
So, after being utterly disappointed and underwhelmed, I decided to make my own “Happy Teacher Challenge”.
In case there are any fuddy-duddies reading this, or people who have not one ounce of humor, know this is satire. It’s not literal.
I’m not fancy and also have way too much shit to do, so I didn’t make this into a pretty calendar, so you get a list. Quityerbitchin.
1. Pull a trusted colleague aside to whisper all of those ‘fucks’ to that you have been holding in.
2. Have your students partner up and organize a section of your room. Call it OCD: Beginner’s Edition, or just Life Skills.
3. Finally strike up a conversation with the idiot who keeps jamming the copier and leaving it for someone else to deal with. Getting how you feel off your chest first thing in the morning will make you feel ready to tackle a day of holding in how you feel all over again.
4. Spend your entire prep period sending teacher memes to your teacher friends. These might be especially apropos:
Michael Scott knows!
5. Take a short walk down to the vending machine in the teacher’s lounge for a much-needed soda during lunch. When everything but Dasani water is sold out, take another short walk to your car where you have a nice, little scream.
6. Calm yer tits, paper. Organize the stacks of papers on your desk labeled “to be graded” by sweeping them into the garbage can. They’ll just end up crumpled around a moldy bag of apples in the back of their desk anyway, so…
7. Think of a student who is always well behaved and really smart. Pick them to lead your math lesson for a day.
8. Fill out a staff appreciation for your fellow teacher in arms. Luckily you have a really good one this time: “Mr. Walton is a real star for cleaning the word, ‘sex’ off of the boys’ bathroom wall during his only break last Tuesday”.
9. Buy this shirt for yourself (and wear it to school immediately upon receiving it):
10. Take an Ambien and a nap under your desk during lunch.
11. Ask your students to draw a portrait of you, and laugh all the way to the wine aisle at your nearest liquor store.
12.Download a fun desk planner, attempt to laminate it, and when the laminator is broken AGAIN, just buy one on Amazon.
13. Bribe your custodian with a Starbucks gift card so that they will keep providing you with those paper ass gaskets. When you share a bathroom with 20+ eight- and nine-year-olds, they make all the mental difference.
14. Make a very serious effort to smile more. Even while saying, “It goes in the turn in basket” for the nine billionth time. Bonus: your excessive smiling with creep them out.
15. Take a goofy picture with your students-it’s super cute. Just crop out the kid throwing up gang signs.
16. Do a compliment circle with your students to start your morning. Maybe they’ll notice your new Kate Spade earrings or overly-expensive Tieks that they’ll scuff after three days.
17. It’s Life Skills day again! Provide a Swiffer duster and a push vacuum, and they will actually want to clean the room.
18. Play some Enya, add some lavender essential oil to your diffuser and transport yourself during Guided Reading. Hey, it’s better than nodding off. Calgon, take me away!
19. Drink your double espresso out of your World’s Okayest Teacher mug, and remind yourself that you are doing your very best, dammit.
But it here
20. Make time to sit on your fat arse at the end of day. In fact, make time to sit accompanied by a glass of wine, loaded nachos, and some Netflix. Getting up 20 times a day from the kidney table counts as exercise. Thighs of steal, man. Thighs.of.steel.
21. Bring home the contraband notes they write to each other that you find on a daily basis. Laugh over their spelling choices and sweet innocence with a glass of wine and your dwindling sanity. Math sux bols!
22. Organize your files on your teacher computer with fun new folder names like, “Important Shit”, “Crap I Will Never Look At Again”, and “Bullshit I Have to Deal With”.
23. Share passwords to Teachers Pay Teachers, HBO Go, Discovery Ed, Match, and Flocabulary. Sharing is caring.
24. Encourage students to bring cupcakes for their birthdays. It’ll create positive memories for them and you won’t have to fund your cupcake habit. But, store-bought only, and remind them not to forget the Capri Sun (organic tropical punch pairs nicely with a good white cake and vanilla cream cheese frosting).
25. Bring a bottle of wine to weekly planning with your grade level. Watch how your lesson plans are utterly transformed.
26. Download a countdown app and set the date for the next school break. Watch the seconds count down as you get closer and closer to freedom.
Get the same app here.
27. Do you work with an overly harried colleague who needs some “chill the fuck out” time? Buy them this mug, if they have a sense of humor, it’ll make their year:
Buy it here.
Don’t forget to include some mini booze bottles and a couple Xanax. Bonus: You basically own them now.
28. Make sure you plan “Coffee/Wine Bitch Hours” with your teacher friends. These people and the moments you spend commiserating is a huge part of why you might remain sane during your career.
29. DON’T assign an exit ticket so that you can briefly, blissfully believe your students understood what you were going on about for 40 minutes.
30. Stand at the door and give your students a high five as they leave for the day, knowing you don’t have to see them for another 18 hours.
So, what do you think of the challenge? Did I forget anything? Let me know in the comments.