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It’s Just That I’m So Tired, Ms. Icenogle

At my house, we call them “Get-Through-It Days”, though I think a better name might be “Forgiving Days”.

A Forgiving Day is a day when we just don’t have our all to bring. We might be tired, distracted, sad, scattered. On Forgiving Days, we forgive ourselves first. It’s okay that we are presenting work and not our best work. It’s okay that we are being nice- but outgoing is too much to ask. We enjoy a dinner of yogurt and crackers because chicken with lemon broccoli is too tall an order.

On Forgiving Days, we also lower the bar for people around us. Their comments might feel harsh when we’d laugh it off on another day. We forgive them for not noticing our struggles because they might be having a Forgiving Day in their own world.

Forgiving Days remind me of a comment from a close friend’s mom years ago: “Megan, you’d be so much happier if you just lowered the bar.”

I don’t want to lower the bar on most days. I want to live with joy and intention and urgency and appreciation. But some days call for a lower bar.

Students Also Need Forgiving Days

My students were sure I would not understand. They would come in and tell me that they’re just so tired, it’s hard to think about math (or test-prep or Spanish vocabulary or written response or… anything). We would talk about how hard it is that each teacher acts as if that class is the student’s top life priority. And we teachers do- we have worked hard to plan a well developed lesson for our students’ engagement and progression.

While it is ridiculously important that we note our own Forgiving Days, we must also notice and allow them from our students.

Part of developing our class culture can be creating language for those days- giving students a term or a signal to give you if they just need some space and time. A signal that says, please don’t razz me today, please let me be quiet today, please expect less from me today, please let me work independently today.

And, part of lowering the bar means that sometimes people around you will rise higher than you expect. The students might take the reigns of exploration and connection when given more space to do so. A leader may rise from the ranks and drive discussion in a way you would not have considered on your best day.

On Forgiving Days, make space both high and low for the world around you. Most importantly, make space for yourself to bring what you’ve got that day.

Trust that your days will balance. Yes, you need Forgiving Days- but you also have so many days when your presence is the boost for someone else’s forgiving day- because you have an Extra Day.

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One Comment

  1. Yes. Some days are “just good enough days “. I like your adding the forgiveness piece. Giving grace to one’s self and others is such a great skill to learn. Keep up the great work here!

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