The Silver Lining

Since yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, I would like to emphasize an old Irish Blessing today: “May you never forget what is worth remembering, Or remember what is best forgotten.”

 This blessing is something I try to follow with a lot of things that have happened to me in my life, but of course it is easier said than done. For the bad situations I can’t forget no matter how hard I try, I try to find the silver lining. Since I always seem to focus on my bipolar disorder, I’m going to use a different scenario in my life this time.

 One bad situation I was in many years ago occurred during my first year of teaching. I had made a bad impression with the school principal who told me she was about to fire me. From then on, I was paranoid but determined to take a class of hellions off the battlefield, challenge a group of pampered slackers, and prove at least to myself I was a good teacher.

 By the end of the first year, I thought I had failed. My class of hellions mellowed but still some failed. My pampered accelerated class produced beautiful writing, but complained about the increase workload every step of the way. I worked eighty hour weeks preparing lesson plans, grading, helping with other activities in the school, and ditching a social life. I was over worked and firmly believed that my efforts were all in vain. I was debating whether I should tuck tail and run away from teaching even though I was kept on for another year. I felt like I was greatly underappreciated. I was a dime a dozen.

 On the last day of class, one of my hellion students said she wished she tried harder at the beginning of the school year. She said she regretted not thinking I was going to turnout to be “so cool.” Other students in that class of hellions also agreed with her. They said they wouldn’t have given me such a hard time at the beginning. I was shocked. The students that failed this class and would have to repeat it all over again were showing regret and calling me “cool?”

 I started to think that like my class of hellions, I also needed a second chance to prove I did not fail. I may not have been a good teacher…yet, but I would be some day.

 On report card day, I received my second surprise. One of my accelerated students handed me a Hallmark card telling me thank you for being a “great” teacher because I was there for her when she was sick and helped her get back on her feet. I couldn’t help crying as I read it alone in my classroom for the first time.

 You see? Two very specific moments worth remembering because of a bad situation I would love to forget. If it wasn’t for the principal’s threat, I might not have turned into such a “cool” and “great” teacher to those students.

 Oh and by the way, the hellion student ended up in my class again the next year and passed with a B even though her brother passed away from a brain tumor that same year.