What Makes Me Happy

Today something kind of surprising happened.

I was having generally bad day today. I’ve been feeling really stressed about a number of things and it’s just been building up. Just sitting at my desk thinking about it all made me feel like crying. I’m not sure why I feel so down like this but it just feels terrible.

But I tried doing things to make myself feel better. Talking to my sister usually cheers me up, but seeing the notification of her unread message just added to my stress instead of relieving it. I tried studying Korean, which usually can take my mind off of anything, but instead I felt overwhelmed by all the words I didn’t know. Then I listened to music- something that always cheers me up- but I just felt bored and frustrated because I couldn’t find the right song to match my mood.

I was somewhat dreading my first class of the day- how could I teach when I was feeling so terrible? I thought I was in for a long, miserable day. But something amazing happened instead. Whenever I walk into a classroom, I try to be as cheerful and alert as possible-teaching requires you to always be “on.” So I mustered what positivity I had left and came into class with a smile (and candy, the kids love candy) and my students shouted their usual “HELLO TEACHER,” and instantly every bad thought I had had all morning melted away. Being in front of my students, seeing them happy and excited to learn, watching them sing and play games together, in turn made me feel happy and excited. It was the first time I stopped and wondered to myself, “Wow, am I a teacher? Is this what it feels like?”

Sadly I only had two classes today, so the excitement was short-lived, but it gave me a little hope in the midst of a tough situation. I don’t feel fully back to normal, but I have a little hope that it will get better, and I feel kind of surprised that above everything else, it was teaching that lifted my spirits today.

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