Author’s note: It’s been 5 years, almost to the day, since I first wrote this. It was originally published on my ‘maths teacher’ blog when I was a HoD, but remains as relevant today as it was back then.
It’s November. That month where all teachers descend into a dark pit of despair as the longest term drags on, with weeks to go until Christmas. The month where it’s dark when you leave for work in the morning, and dark when you leave, and the students are just as desperate for a holiday as you are….
I had succumbed to the temptation to wallow in November-ness, but today I have decided NO MORE! No more shall I wake up and force myself out of bed. No more shall I trudge from my car to my classroom, shoulders slumped, with only the thought of the impending vat of coffee to keep me going.
As of tomorrow, I shall leap out of bed, with a song in my heart, skip into the building, and begin by making coffee for as many people as I can find that want some.
I shall sneak into other people’s rooms and tidy their desks.
I shall bring in cake, and offer it round to people I don’t normally see often.
I shall send students off to their next lesson with a cheery joke to pass on to their next teacher.
I will smile at EVERYONE I walk past.
I will open doors for students and staff alike.
I will offer to carry things for people.
I will spend free lessons marking some of the mountain of test papers shortly to descend upon our department staffroom following mocks week, even if they’re not my class.
Why? Because I love my job. I love the people I work with. November WILL NOT BEAT ME.
Bad moods are infectious. They spread like an insidious fog, wrapping their tendrils around anyone you come into contact with. November seems to bring these moods to us like dementors, sucking the joy out of our jobs.
The good news though, is that smiles are at least 27 times more infectious.
I aim to see how quickly I can spread a good mood around the school. If anyone asks, I’ll explain, and try to recruit them to join me in my mission. Otherwise, I’ll just carry on my own little merry way, smiling as I go. If nothing else, I’ll at least be fending off the November dementors with my very own little patronus.
The concept of ‘paying it forward’ is about doing something really good for someone else, and not asking for anything in return, other than that they do the same for 3 people.
If all goes well, I may even create some kind of ‘pay it forward’ card, to leave at the scene of the good deed, asking the recipient to continue the mission……
What better way to model the kind of behaviour we’d like to see in our students?!