Earlier this week I had to make up a class that had gotten missed due to school programing. It was a unique opportunity to get to feel the difference in my energy knowing I was only interacting with one class for the entire day. Perhaps it was this coupled with the change in schedule that made things feel fresh and new. I enjoy chances to see my job in a new light.
Similar to this was the day one of my daughters was able to sit in on a class with me. As we were setting up supplies she said, "I know that kids can be crazy and you have to keep them quiet and stuff, but this looks like such a fun job. You get to play with paint brushes and paint. Your job is to play with art supplies." In that moment I took in the full scope of my room in full colour. It was breathtaking, to be able to see as my 5th grader saw. I still think about that day often, when I am feeling swallowed up by the chaos that is ensuing in my room or when someone is boring holes into their watercolor paints while simultaneously causing the hair of the paint brush to shed or complaining about how their extra fine point sharpie marker won't work as they are smashing it into the paper.
I am constantly exploring these little tactics to see my job differently, to keep it from getting mundane. This is what it means to work (or play) your magic.
One day a teacher was telling me about one of our students who usually is making other kids feels miserable, but on this particular day got his own feelings hurt when he was teased for his physical appearance. I told her, sometimes I play this game with myself that I am a freelance therapist, and I have 19 sessions to get in every week. With each session I have no idea what I am walking into. I think of each student as capable of being any mixture of the 5 Inside Out Characters - Joy, Anger, Sadness, Disgust, and Fear. So if you multiply that times 24-26 kids, you get quite an array of different emotional conconctions that you are walking in on. "Why I bet if you do the math, literally no two classes are ever the same the entire school year," I told the teacher.
She said, "Stop. You're going to give me a panic attack."
To which I replied, "No, no. My point is, our job is just that hard. No wonder if feels overwhelming and difficult and impossible and crazy-making sometimes. It requires creative thinking, being on our toes, adaptability. It requires a little bit of magic."
To be able to step back and play with the data this way is very beneficial to me.
It is how when a teacher brought her kids into my classroom and said, "I'm just warning you, I'm not sure why, but we are wired today," I could think in my head, "Why, I can work with wired."
When I feel anxious of the unknown components of what my day will hold (which I usually feel on Monday nights and Tuesday mornings as I enter into a new week or on Friday morning when I am facing some challenging classes and tired from a full week) it helps to think of myself as a therapist whose job it is to sit with the unknowns of her clients and let them be precisely who they are on that particular occasion, while helping them find space to exist, heal and even flourish. I am finding it is often way more about the people than it is about the art. The art gives us a unique container and a rich environment to learn how to be human together.