This weekend I finished reading Permission to Feel, by Marc Brackett. I loved the book, and though I’ve seen Marc speak on three occasions, I now feel like I’m finally getting the idea of how I might make his RULER ideas work in my classroom and in my life. It is true, I believe, that if we don’t pay attention to our emotional needs, we will not be in a position to do our best thinking and learning. SEL is not a frill. It’s an essential part of our educational work. That’s not what I’m going to write about today, though.
This morning I went into school to try to do something constructive in my classroom. I don’t know how my room will be configured or populated. I don’t know whether I will be alone in my classroom, allowed in my classroom, or crowded in my classroom. I unpacked the things that I’d ordered, not knowing whether all of those things will be stored in bins, distributed only to individuals, or never be shared. But that’s not what I’m going to write about today.
I didn’t stay long in my classroom, because the air conditioning in our school is under repair. The fans work, so a pleasant 100-degree breeze wafted through my classroom. I worked up a good sweat thinning the “writing” drawer in my file cabinet. I was able to toss a hefty stack of papers that I hadn’t laid eyes on in over five years. That seemed like a sign that I could jettison them. But that’s not what I’m going to write about today.
I rushed home, because the most spoiled dog in the world was spending some of his first daytime hours in his crate. My wife had gone to work AND I had gone to work. I know, crazy, right? Farley willingly sleeps in his crate at night, but he has been blissfully unaware that some dogs get left at home during the day while their family goes to other locations for work. Strange. Among the small-deal things that I have managed to grow anxious about is the image of a very distressed puppy rattling around in a crate all day, wondering what the heck happened to his dog-centered world. It actually looks like my wife will be working from home, and it’s even possible that I might as well, so Farley’s charmed existence may extend through the year. I returned home to find him calmly reclining in his crate, his head resting on the side bars. But that is not what I’m going to write about today.
I mowed the lawn, having waited strategically for the hottest portion of the day. While mowing, I noted an abundance of weeds in the front yard. The only weed killers we employ these days are my left and right hands, so I followed my lawn mowing experience with a satisfying weeding session. But that’s not what I’m going to write about today.
I returned to the much cooler house and decided to scan the “anchor task” pages from our new math textbook. There were seven chapters in Book A, and an average of 12 tasks in each chapter. I’ve gotten fairly quick at using the notes app on my phone to scan and crop many pages. Having these scans may or may not prove useful in the event of either in-school or remote learning. This may or may not have relieved some of my August anxiety. But that’s not what I’m going to write about today.
No, today I sat down at my computer with the best of intentions. After a busy day of activities that had questionable value, I would now compose my weekly slice of life. I was not, however, sure about my topic. I thought again about Marc Brackett’s book. He had noted repeatedly that we need to become better at recognizing and understanding our own emotions and emotional needs. With that in mind, I wondered if, instead of writing a slice of life story merely to keep up with my Tuesday routine, I might better support my own emotional needs by escaping from my computer and office chair and relocating to the couch. There, I might slouch in front of the TV and watch my favorite hockey team playing its first playoff game. After a quick check in with my mood meter app, I noted that this prospect led to feelings that I might label as Energized or even Elated. I decided to do just that.
We regret to inform you that the remainder of this slice has been postponed on account of hockey. I have given myself permission to flee.
Sad note: The Caps lost in overtime.
Current feelings: temporarily disappointed yet still irrationally optimistic.