Today was rough. A particular parent who has been making my life a kind of hell for a while sent (yet another) personal attack email that left me shaking, angry, and thoroughly discouraged. A million angry retorts came into my mind in one boiling flood that I had to stem rather quickly to preserve the professionalism for the class I had to teach. (Side note: I, apparently, need to stop responding to emails in the middle of the day.)
So today it was time for the Teacher Pay-Day folder. Now that I teach mostly high school classes, this folder hasn't been added to quite as often, but I taught junior high English my first year of teaching and the folder got lots of use. This is a hanging file folder where I keep particularly nice notes or artwork or other (paper) trinkets students drop by my desk. I pulled it out today and rifled through a few years worth of letters and cards. The notes - some funny (the girl who wants to be an actress and was inspired by me? She used her acting skills to promote her hypochondria. I kept that note for a laugh), some sincere (the boy who told me that he never liked to read until he came to my class), to heartfelt (the few who told me that I made them feel important and loved.) It was exactly what I needed today. I love that folder.
So it's time to put the frustrations aside and start actively loving what I do, not just saying that I do in an attempt to convince myself. I'll let the school handle this abusive parent, and turn my attentions instead to the things that matter. Like relaxing. Taking some time in the day to enjoy what I do and not worry about the paperwork. To compliment students more often and have fun with them regularly. I'm a better teacher when I do, and they're better students. All the baggage and frustrations and accusations are what they are - but none of them should be allowed to take away from the satisfaction of a room full of teenagers who actually listen to you, trust you, and want to be better because of the time spent with you.