attitude is a choice

March 11, 2009

Life continues in buckets of roses and the occasional rotten peanut hidden delicately inside the shell. I have come to some many conclusions, including the one that attitude is a decision. While I typically disagree that say that happiness is a decision on grounds that there are some things that just suck hard enough to make it not matter, I do think one’s attitude is based on perception.

Example: I’ve been teaching all this year, learning daily, trying to get my feet under me, trying to find my niche and my process. Recently, after attending a rather enlightening conference with some very encouraging speakers, I decided to become unshakable in the classroom. No student could do anything so annoying or stupid to make me angry. So far, I had been doing well. Many days, dealing with sixth graders who try really hard, but who’s brains and hearts are not really connected, were getting better and better. These students were improving, little by little, day by day. Nearly three weeks of this. I was repairing relationships with students and getting them on my side again.

(And by my side, I mean getting them to agree with me without even knowing what I’m saying half the time, and getting them to do things they have never tried without having to goad them into doing anything.)

Then, during a sectional rehearsal, two kids are late because of “ride issues,” meaning someone didn’t take care of their personal affairs before they needed to be in band, and they decided to interrupt the rehearsal while still talking on the phone. Not only on the phone, but on the phone with their parent. I was going to stop them, and have them hang up, but they approached me, handed me the phone, and suddenly, I was part of the phone conversation. I tried to get off the phone and get the kid in the rehearsal, but the parent was not willing to budge, and required she speak with her son some more. What’s a good word to describe my attitude at this point: Mmm…angry? No. Pissed? Not quite. Livid? Can we put “fucking” in front of it? Sure. Fucking livid. Fucking livid.

Children, do not come to my rehearsals with your phones ever again. I don’t care if your house is on fire or your dog is dead or your mother got in a car wreck. It is rehearsal time. The real emergencies come find you. There is no one you need to talk to during an rehearsal of any kind. And there will be no discussion of this matter.

See: attitude is a choice. I choose to put my foot down on it, and luckily, this time, there was not a head waiting beneath it.



  1. Have the rule that you leave all your issues at the door of the band hall. If that means cell phones go back there, so be it.

  2. Haha, I would have totally done the Tunnel Excuse of cell phoning.
    “I, *static*, can’t seem to *static*, we’ll have to *static*.” Click. Poignant look at student, accidental dropping of phone.

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