I hit the snooze button four times this morning. Do you know what that means?! Let me put it this way – the first few days of school, I sprang out of bed when my alarm went off at 6:00, excited to go to school and make a difference in the lives of young, impressionable tweens and teens. By the end of the first week, I began to hit the snooze button. Just once, mind you. I wasn’t trying to escape the responsibility of work; just prolong the getting-out-of-bed part for a couple minutes. At the start of the second week, I was up to two hits of the snooze button. Who could blame me? I mean, it was still dark outside, for crying out loud! What kind of crazy people are up and about at that hour? Vampires racing home to their coffins, that’s who. Normal people are still in bed. But by the end of the second week, I was up to three hits of the ole snooze button. Still, I told myself it was no big deal. I wasn’t addicted to the snooze button or anything. I could stop at any time if I wanted to.
Now today, after hitting the snooze four times, then sort of flopping myself over the side of my bed like a half-dead fish, and crawling to the bathroom, I’m a little concerned. What’s next? Maybe tomorrow I’ll decide I can forgo my shower in order to have that fifth hit. Then what? Six hits and not enough time to brush my hair? Maybe seven or eight hits, then driving to work in my pajamas with the grand plan of convincing the principal to institute Really Casual Tuesdays?
I can just see it now. Next week, after hitting my snooze twenty-three times, stumbling to my car, unshowered, undressed, unbrushed, uncoiffed, and uncaffeinated, and driving to school in a daze, I’ll make it to my classroom forty minutes late where my students will be
engaged in some sort of WWE smackdown sitting quietly and studying. Or maybe I’ll be surrounded by fellow teachers who approach me in an eerily calm way, saying, “Dawn, you know we love you and want what’s best for you. Your snooze habit is getting out of control. It’s affecting your work, your family, your um, sniff sniff, hygeine.
I think I had this vision of being an awesome, supportive person who would make a difference in some kids’ lives. Maybe all new educators go into it, naively thinking they can change the world. Some teachers, I’m sure, continue to believe they can make a difference (and those are the ones who undoubtedly do) while others get jaded and cynical over time, wondering why they even bother. In the matter of two and a half weeks, I already had doubts creeping in, thinking it was futile and I’d never be able to help even a single kid. That, coupled with my abhorence of mornings, has been making me hit the snooze.
And then today, a teacher sent out an email with a link to this article in the Opinion section of the Times by Charles Blow who recounts how one teacher made a huge difference in his life. It’s an inspiring article that’s well worth the read, especially for educators. And it reframed my thinking. We’re all here for a reason. I’m in Florida now and working at a school for a reason. We all have talents and abilities and it’s our responsibility and privilege to share them with the world. We all have the ability to make a difference in someone’s life every day, teacher or not.
So, tomorrow I plan on springing out of bed and humming cheerily on my way to work. Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll probably still hit the snooze, but this time it will simply be because of my aversion to all things morning-related, and not dread for the day ahead of me.
How are you going to make a difference today?
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