Thursday, May 3, 2012

Happiness

I'm referencing my 365 questions for 5 years journal tonight.  The question for April 29th was, "Who can make you happier and how?" I would hope that for most people that answer would be themselves.  As much as I might not always believe this, a person is responsible for their own happiness.  Now that is not to say that other people can't affect a day, a week, or even a month or two.  But ultimately, I am responsible for my own happiness by making decisions and changes that do in fact make me happy. 

This is of course easier said than done. I'm not oblivious to that fact.  I'm also cognizant of the fact that not everything can be changed.  Does Tera having DS make me happy? Not usually, but I try not to let it ruin the fact that by merely looking at her face or hearing her voice I am immediately happier than I was before.  I can't change the fact that she has it, but I can choose to accept it for what it is and move on.  As a result of her birth and subsequent diagnosis, we've met some very special people and discovered a new closeness with our family and friends.  Our situation and how we deal with it has made me see the good in people and has also brought out the good in people. 

One of the things I'm struggling with professionally is how many times I leave work feeling like so many of my students believe they are entitled to life.  My parents instilled dedication and hard work in me and I've carried that with me throughout my life.  It's very cliche to say that nothing worth having is easy, but it's true.

When I trained for my fitness show I worked out harder than I've ever worked out in my life. I was more disciplined than I ever thought I could be, and it paid off.  I didn't win but I was in the best shape of my life and was proud of what I was able to do.  I didn't believe that they should have just told me I won because I showed up, but that's exactly what so many young people think these days.  All I hear is requests for extra credit or with one month left of school, questions about how they can pass.  First of all, extra credit means you have to have done the original work in the first place so that the extra credit, is actually extra.  Second, why weren't you concerned about the fact that you were failing back in February, or March, or even April? My job is provide my students with the tools and means to learn.  It does not mean allowing them to bring in 57 boxes of Kleenex to give them enough extra credit to say that they learned a semester's worth of math.  In the past few days I've had several students in several classes say they wish they had done what they were supposed to earlier so they wouldn't be in this position.  But I hear more asking me why I'm not "giving" them a passing grade?

I can't respond to many of these students the way I would like to, but mostly I just want them to understand that in my class, you have to earn your grade.  I don't ask that they do anything above and beyond doing their homework and paying attention in class.  Just by doing these two things, the majority of my students would be doing better than they are.  But so many of them believe that it's just someone else's problem or fault instead of theirs.  They are determined to make sure that someone else makes them happy. 

Now I will make myself happy by choosing the picture of my beautiful baby to include here, heading to bed, hopefully sleeping, and waking up to prepare myself for another day. 

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