Teaching Profession Opinion

When Life Gets Tough, Wear a Tutu

By Starr Sackstein — May 11, 2017 2 min read
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I’ve always wanted a tutu.

I know it’s silly and I’m sure you may not have expected this of me, but it’s true.

Since I’ve become an adult, I’ve often admired them and those who have adorned them and secretly wished to have one of my own.

Frilly. Whimsical. Superfluous. Perfectly unnecessary.

Maybe that’s why I wanted one. Everything in my life has always been so serious and man, am I good at taking myself too seriously.

Although I never identified with being a super-girly girl, there was something about a tutu that really seemed like fun and as things get more complication, simple things like tutus can make me smile.

Recently, my friend heard me lamenting about my desire for a tutu and got me one.

Few things have made so genuinely happy.

Life can be complex and it can throws us curve balls that we may not see coming. These challenges take their toll and they make our every day lives, routines and jobs extra tough.

So when the opportunity comes to grab a hold of something that’s simply there for amusement amid the darkness, we must seize the moment.

Our students face challenging experiences all of the time and so do we teachers, so we must stop and take the time relish in the things that make us happy. Even if they seem silly.

As teachers, we need to embrace whimsical and fun a little more than we do, especially us high school teachers that think we are “preparing kids for life” and therefore need to take everything seriously.

Life doesn’t have to serious, all of the time. It’s about balance. As we mix the silly and the serious, we offer a more enjoyable and nuanced experience for the kids and for ourselves. The more we model how to enjoy simple pleasures, the more students, our families and ourselves will be able to stay present in these moments that make life more fun.

There’s nothing better than a good surprise. I may be dragging my tutu into class at the end of the year because it’s the last thing my students and colleagues would expect and I suspect that if they saw me in a tutu, they would just have to smile.

Who out there hasn’t purposely done something silly, just to make his/her students laugh or smile at some point? I’m not above breaking out in song or interpretive dance if it means making a kid’s day.

Once at the end of a school year, a good friend of mine (a person I admire for her awesomeness) decided we surprise some colleagues as we were wrapping up the year. There was a big empty box. She climbed into it and I wheeled her around Trojan Horse style, leaving her in rooms so she could scare folks when they came into the room. We laughed so hard every time we started another colleague.

Additionally, this same friend and I would take time to break to dance around the classroom at random times. She’s come into my classroom playing song like “The Safety Dance” and the two of us would proceed to dance around the room. My students were often confused by this behavior as I’m usually a pretty serious teacher. Every person needs a friend like Jess who knows how to give us the permission to have a fun time simply because we need it and deserve it. And being silly sometimes doesn’t diminish our capacity for being respectable ever; it just makes us human.

So when life gets tough, wear a tutu or whatever your tutu, box or dance is and don’t care who’s watching when you wear it, jump out it, or dance it.

What do you do to break the tension when life gets tough? Please share

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