Words (or YouTube Links) of Encouragement...

The other day I had a really rough day at school. Sometimes you really feel like you've got it together as a teacher... papers are all graded, students are all fully understanding what you're teaching, parents are all happy... okay, so maybe those days are nonexistent. But still, some days are better than others, and I was having one of those days... frustrated with my students because they just weren't getting it and frustrated with myself because I didn't know why.

So, the day was nearly over and I was just feeling really grumpy and snappy... ill as we say in the South. Everyone knows that teenagers are a brutally honest bunch, and while I was trying not to bite anyone's head off, I am a little too transparent at times and I think they may have caught on that I wasn't too happy. (Imagine that.)

In fact, by the time my last class was finished, I had just about had it. Then, one of my students quietly walked up, slipped me a folded piece of paper, and left.

Wow... I got notes like this every day last year, but any secondary teacher will tell you that these are few and far between with teens.

Here I am, having a pity party over the frustrations of my day, and one of my students, who probably didn't even realize it, was just wanting to be an encouragement to me. Oh, and the note also said "you're the best English teacher ever" and "you've made a change in my life" and other nice things that I probably didn't deserve. More than just a sweet note from a sweet girl, it was a reminder that a) God loves me and b) I need to be watching for opportunities to encourage someone because I have no idea how badly someone needs it. 

I am so grateful to this student, who told me later, "Mrs. McNeese, I just felt like I needed to write you that note yesterday." Not only did it totally turn my day around, but it forced me to get outside my pity party and see that there are some redeeming qualities in my profession =). Since that day, I have encountered several people who are really having a hard time- far more than my "bad" day. I've talked about this before, but it really does help to put things in perspective if you look around for others having a hard time... you'll always find them. I'm not saying you need to constantly minimize your own problems, because goodness knows we all have legitimately bad days and difficult circumstances. However, it doesn't take long to realize when you're down on yourself or your situation to look around and find someone hurting even worse than you are. That being said, you don't have to dismiss your problems in comparison to others', but rather be mindful of others and their need to be encouraged. Nothing prompts me to encourage others like being encouraged myself.

Speaking of people who are having a worse day than you... 

There's this girl...

I'm probably the last person on the internet to have watched this but I was crying tears of sympathy/uncontrollable laughter. 

Oh, Scarlet... I found this gem in college and have laughed heartily at it since. Poor girl.

And, finally... my favorite. 

This never gets old.

So, if you're down, remember someone (Tori? Scarlett? Duckies?) has it worse than you. If you know someone who's discouraged, find a way to let them know you care. Perhaps you could send them a sadistic video mocking helpless waterfowl? I'll let you make that call.

Happy Monday, dears. 


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