Thursday, September 11, 2014


When was the last time you had a bad day-- or off week or terrible month, or even a very bad year?

This is mine.

Bad days plague us all at one time or another.

Perhaps your car has been leaking coolant since late May (that is between visits to the dealer)....and now it is in the shop for visit number six.  Two new reserve tanks and one new radiator cap later,
perhaps you took this car in this morning and the only thing left in the ineffective service tool box is taking the engine apart to go on a scavenger hunt.

Or perhaps you wanted to print some necessary documents and your brand new computer (which has been connecting to your old printer since March) now says the printer spooler is not running.  Turning the print spooler back on doesn't work.  It won't stay on and  now communication between the printer and the computer seems to have come to a standstill.  Talk you keep telling the two of them.

And perhaps you stopped listening when the tech person called to explain that during the diagnostics the hard drive failed on one test and froze on another. But it is brand new you protest weakly-- You have learned already from the car situation that protesting bad days is useless.

Or perhaps, this is the day or month or year-- that your father died.. or the anniversary of the death of your mother, or your brother, or someone else that you need and miss.

Or perhaps, your school just adopted a brand new scripted curriculum, the kind where you all do the same thing at the same time with the same  boring texts that go with the  new boring program.  

You are spending every minute trying to recapture and recreate the excitement your students experienced last year with Socratic Circles.  

Yes, perhaps you are having a bad day/week/month/year.

As we wallow in our misfortune and declining luck, we mustn't forget that children have bad days, too.

Students come to school with their minds oppressed/repressed/suppressed by their personal iterations of failing hard drives and leaking coolant.

Perhaps it will help for them to know that grownups- teachers and coaches, parents and relatives-- as well as their friends and classmates, all have bad times.

Perhaps it will help if they share their trying times with others.

Perhaps it will help if someone says I know how you feel or That happened to me, too or How can I help?

 And perhaps it will help to commiserate ...and also laugh together --about bad days of characters in books or poems or movies.

 Younger children will nod knowingly at the misfortune and bad luck that plague the characters in books.

Beginning with my all-time-favorite-bad-day book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,  these books will foster compassion, understanding, and sharing, and will, undoubtedly, lead to both important talk and substantive writing.



Older children will easily recognize the confluence of events leading to undesirable consequences in books recounting misadventures and mishaps of folks much like themselves.


And finally I leave you, adults and young adults, with this amazing inspiration and advice by Shane Koyczan. His spoken word poem Instructions for a Bad Day says all we need to know to weather our less than perfect times.

 I plan on rereading his words of wisdom or re-watching his video each time bad days come my way.

Today's Deeper Writing Possibilities

Reflect on the most recent bad day or week or month in your life.

List all the events involved, as well your feelings and actions.

How did others react and respond as you navigated your bad time?

Write a letter to your bad time.

Or write a spoken word poem expressing your feelings about this period in your life.

Hear is my attempt to capture my thoughts in my poem  #BadDay.

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