Return to Power

This school week I returned my power to myself.

I stated my truth to myself on Sunday, owning that I alone am responsible for my reaction to things.

My friends in class and I had a great week. Oh sure, some of my intense friends had their share of bumps and needed the principal and the counselor. But, my reaction to it was different.

I got steamy at times, but I just said firmly what the expectation was/what the consequence was when things were going sideways.

I didn’t accept argument.

I recognize that I held boundaries and expectations this school year. However, while holding it I also let students try to negotiate with me.

We all know the rules. All of us do. And sometimes we push it because we’re grumpy or tired or confused or triggered by our trauma, or hungry, or stressed out about external input…or the myriad other things that can make us go (inside our heads or our subconscious)

“NOPE, I can’t deal. I’m gonna be an asshole right now.”

Jen Pastiloff is one of my favorite writers and advocates for living authentically. Her book is a favorite and called “On Being Human.” She says a lot: “don’t be an asshole,” and if you know you’re gonna be an asshole, well, excuse yourself before you attack other humans. That’s basically her life rule.

So I am not taking the attacks anymore. I had to be gently guided to do this by colleagues at school that love me. (thank you) In order to shift the energy in my classroom I had to perform some goddess level acts of teaching enthusiasm with leveled up motivation strategies this week, but it worked. Everyone left feeling good today.

I also cried more this week when I got home than I have cried in a long time, so a lot was being processed inside of me, too.

You know how people say that “Can’t adult today” or “No more adulting? I hate those memes. And here’s why.

Being an adult is hard. But being a young person is really hard, too. Children do not have much power, other than being in control of when they eliminate and what they put into their mouths. I get really concerned when talking to a parent about a child and they are worried there is something “wrong” with their little person. I have to remind them “what we are asking your child to do is hard for adults. It’s hard for me to do that, too.”

Why is it hard? Being a human is hard. All of being human is about communicating with other humans and managing our human emotions and human bodies. It is very very intense. It is not a little thing. It’s our whole job on this planet.

This week two students that go very slow on everything got their reading assignments done a day early. Another student was able to have a conversation with me about their emotions from the day before and reflect on them. Another student sat on the lawn at recess and meditated (no joke) for ten minutes in the sun.

When we open our eyes up to trusting that there is joy sitting right next to pain, sometimes we can say hi to pain, and spend some quality time with joy.

This was a big thing for me to do, to accept that I do not have to solve problems alone within the walls of my classroom. It was big for my students, too. They saw that a team was involved in helping them get there.

So I’m thinking about how I create boundaries with other people in my life, and honestly, some of my boundaries are too loose. I am going to be making some small changes that will make a big impact in my life. I’m feeling empowered by this week, empowered to stand in the power of me and be myself fully.

It is so much more peaceful a way to teach, and to live, when people live with norms that work for everyone in the group.


From Emily McDowell

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