When I Think I’ve Lost It

In the classroom, this time of year seems to be a matter of making it through each day. The students are restless, teachers are restless, the cold weather makes you want to lock yourself in a closet. There are all sorts of meetings, deadlines, data collection, state testing, conferences, and middle school behavior issues like whoa. This past week I was driving to pick up the little babe when I started to think about my day and remembered a little Pinterest “research” I stumbled upon recently.

80% of unwanted behaviors come from 20% of students.

Once I got to thinking, it’s true. The overwhelming amount of students do not cause those whoa moments. This little thought popped in my head…I need those students, the 80% AND the 20%. Maybe need is the wrong word. I tried to think of a less dramatic word but I can’t. Of course I need the students because if they aren’t around, there’s no school, which means there’s no paycheck, which means the husband wouldn’t be happy. 😉

Just yesterday, after a night of little sleep, topped with more deadlines and the feeling of there’s never enough time, I had a student ask me, “Mrs. Haddix, where’s your smile today?” Those six words really got me. Similar to the 80% situation, its not their fault the 20% takes over our mind and some days makes us want to lock ourselves in that closet. It’s not the students’ fault my child is teething and can’t sleep. It’s not the students’ fault that education’s always changing, the paperwork never ending.

I need the students to call me out when I lose sight of my “why”. I need their light bulbs to flicker in the process of learning until it’s shining bright once they master something. I need those 20% of behavior students to challenge me and throw bumps in the road. If I had nothing to investigate during the day, I’d get bored. If I didn’t have behaviors to break down, the days would never change. I also may need that little surprise cupcake found on my desk after a long meeting.

I like to think the 80/20 rule can be applied to real life. The overwhelming majority of people are good-hearted. People who help little old ladies to their car when leaving the grocery. People who read books to kids stuck in the hospital. People who shovel their neighbor’s driveway. Like my students, just because they are currently in the 20% doesn’t mean they can’t get out. These 20% need the extra love and support that maybe sometimes it’s hard to find. If we keep loving our people, and our people loving their people, the 20% can possibly, maybe, hopefully decrease.

If you’re struggling with your why lately, I hope this leaves you with a smile. Keep on keepin’ on my friends. Your why matters.


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