Ok people, I know this is a touchy subject for a lot of you. The morning sucks. So much. But, I thoroughly believe that if you set a positive tone in the morning, the rest of your day will follow. Think about it: If you start happy, you can’t help but remain happy throughout the day.
My favorite thing to do to students first thing in the morning is smile at them and say (too loudly), “Good morning!” I like to see them cringe because they’re not awake yet. Sadistic, you say? I say opportunistic! YOU have the opportunity to be the first positive thing that happens to your students on any given day. That’s pretty amazing! The best compliment a student can give me in the morning is saying something along the lines of, “You’re way too happy for this early in the morning.” My response is just a smile and, “There’s no such thing as too happy!”
So, how in the world can you be that happy in the morning on a daily basis? It’s not easy. Nothing ever is, eh? But, if you get a good routine going that includes some stuff that you love, it actually isn’t that bad.
The first thing I do is get up a bit earlier than I normally would if I didn’t have my happiness in mind. Yes, I realize that I get a little less sleep, but I really need a big chunk of the day to happen before you put a student in front of my face. I have a half-hour drive to school and my classroom opens for business at 7:00, so I wake up at about 4:30. I know, I know…that seems a little excessive. This is the way I see it: If I can have some ‘me’ time first thing the morning, before anyone has any effect on my mood, I get to choose my disposition. And wouldn’t you know it! I always choose sunny!
The first half hour of my day is spent drinking freshly brewed coffee (or yesterday’s cold coffee nuked to perfection) while watching YouTube videos or reading a book. Fiction. Always fiction. Or hilarious memoirs, like those of Chelsea Handler (the woman is a saint by giving us so much humor to gorge ourselves on). I seriously just sit and watch Ellen clips or viral videos, or read about the latest exploits of whichever young adult hero or heroine I’m currently reading. I have never thought to myself, “Wow, I feel so negatively about doing something I enjoy.” The key thing here: Find what you enjoy! Watch an episode of The Big Bang Theory or How I Met Your Mother. Read a blog like Perez Hilton. Watch a news podcast (find something funny, like Anderson Cooper’s 360 Podcast, which include his always humorous Ridiculist). Just do something you love and you won’t even have the option to be grumpy in the morning.
Next, shower and get ready. You won’t be drowsy anymore, so you won’t get in the shower with your socks on or anything (saving precious seconds that you would spend standing there in utter confusion). Your morning routine suddenly becomes much more doable because you’ve had your coffee (or Diet Coke, or smoothie, or whatever you want, really).
Oh, and throw breakfast in there somewhere. Maybe you can even work a warm breakfast in now that you’re getting up earlier!
The drive to work needs to be about you, too. Find a funny morning show on the radio, or listen to an audiobook. I tend to alternate; six months listening to the radio, then about equal time listening to a series I got from Audible.com. (Note: If you go the audiobook route, pick something light or funny and WAY below your reading level, otherwise you’ll fall asleep at the wheel and your day will be ruined anyway.)
Once you get to school spend a little time wishing people good morning. Just peek your head in the door of various classrooms to give your coworkers a quick smile. It will brighten their day as well as yours. Also, since you’re energetic and ready to hit the ground running, offer to help others that are on the struggle bus that morning. Again, karma will stop by to give you a big hug later.
That should be everything you need to make your kids sick by how happy you are in the morning. And then it works in a feedback loop; you’ll be happier because you’ll be laughing at their disgust. And then they’ll be more disgusted! And then you’ll be happier! The happiness never ends!!!
(If it makes you feel any better, their disgust turns into a smile pretty quickly. Remember, I don’t actually hate students like it sounds.)