Of course you have. Everyone has. And if you are an educator, you probably know that I am referencing a lovely book by Judith Viorst titled Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. In this book, Alexander decides that he is going to Australia since his day is so awful. At my school, we are encouraged to have an "Australia" or area that a student can go to calm down, take a moment, or just sit quietly for a few minutes. I haven't had one because I felt like my room was cramped enough. Tomorrow, I'm going pillow shopping.
I just couldn't get it together today. It really started yesterday. I did something to upset a friend and it was completely unintentional. The weird thing is, she was so gracious. I apologized, I told her why I had done what I had done and she told me not to worry. In fact, I went to her to see what I could do to "fix it," and she said that it was all O.K. Later, she even texted me to tell me, again, that it was all a misunderstanding and that I shouldn't feel bad.
I still did.
Then, another friend had a car battery situation. It all worked out but I still worried for her. I know that feeling of having something that functions stop functioning. I also know what it's like to have an unplanned expenditure come up. I didn't want that for her. And, I realized that I was in no position to help her. It wasn't my fault AT ALL. And, she didn't need my help. Why in the world would I feel bad?
I still did.
Understandably, I didn't feel great when I woke up this morning. I couldn't believe my alarm was going off, it felt like I had just laid down! My very old dog isn't doing well and she wouldn't eat. I can't leave food out for her because my very fat wiener dog is on a diet. I finally got out the door and down the road when the sun came out and I had left my sunglasses at home. I NEVER LEAVE MY SUNGLASSES. They are like my security blanket and I've had the LASIK and they make me look like a 1950's movie star and they hold my hair back just perfectly.
I had to be at school at 8:00 a.m. It was fine. I was on time.
But how do you think my day went?
It didn't matter that after that morning, nothing went that poorly. It didn't matter that everyone was kind to me. It didn't matter that we had a successful session of professional development and team planning. It didn't matter that I finally organized that "junk tub" in my classroom (you have one too, right?). It just didn't matter.
When I got home, my answer to "How was your day?" was "It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day." The rotten that I woke up with just wouldn't go away. It just stunk up all the good that followed.
I'm a grown-up. I know how to handle my feelings and emotions. I know that there will be times when I will make poor choices, bad decisions, or act unwisely. However, through experience, I know that tomorrow will probably be better. It's all going to be fine. Eventually. I am hoping that as I get even older (perhaps, wiser) that I will be able to see that even more quickly and not dwell in it at all. But what about when you're 9 or 10? You may not realize that it's going to get better. You may think that the whole world is against you. And you may not know that it's going to be all right.
Sometimes I think all I have time to teach is content. But if someone in my room is having one of those days, are they really listening to me anyway? I would say probably not.
So, I guess I get it. I need an "Australia." I'm not saying it will be any better because:
But maybe some pillows and a safe space will help. Maybe a hug. I'm going to go try it myself right now.