On Friday morning I was going on vacation for a little over a week. Planning ahead, I packed my car on Thursday night. In my car I put my suitcase and my computer bag that contained my computer, iPad, Teach Like a Pirate book and some other important papers pertaining to teaching. I ran out late on Thursday night, parked my car in my driveway like normal, and ran inside with my hands full.
I don't remember locking my car when I went in the house, but out of habit I figured I did. However, my key fob's battery had been dying and the 'lock' button would only work about half of the time and the unlock bottom wouldn't work at all. By my account, I live in a very safe neighborhood....
I woke up early on Friday, looked around for my purse and when I couldn't find it, I figured I had accidentally left it in my car the night before. As I approached my car I realized it was unlocked. I opened the door and knew immediately something was wrong.....No suitcase on the back seat.
Dumbfounded I looked to the right of my car to see my suitcase totally dumped out in the grass. Everything that you would pack for a trip, clothes, toiletries, etc had been strewn about throughout the yard. And one last thing: Overnight, it had rained so everything was nice and wet.
For a millisecond, the thought (and image!) of two raccoons opening my suitcase with their tiny little hands entered my mind - it really did! I thought maybe I left my suitcase outside my car...but how did it get ten feet away? How did it get opened? How was it dumped all over the yard??????
I actually remember saying "Stop being naive! You were robbed!"
As I began sifting through everything I noticed that not only was my suitcase emptied out, but my purse was too. I found my checkbook, make up, etc all soaked in the grass. As I started putting everything in the suitcase to get it out of the rain, this terrible knot formed in my stomach.
I started to panic........
Remembering that my computer bag was on the floor of the backseat.....
I ran back to my car....
Opened the door.....
To find my computer bag with everything intact untouched where I had left it!
I know it sounds silly, but to me, the most important thing in the car was in that computer bag. I don't have as much saved as I should to cloud sources, and I still have a lot of files on flash drives or on the hard drive of my computer. If the thief would have taken my computer I would have been crushed, but it was spared....
So I returned back to the heap of my soaked belongings elated! I figured the theif/thieves wouldn't want to take anything that could be traceable like my Mac or iPad, but still I couldn't believe it was sitting untouched where I left it. I figured I could wash the clothes, dry out my suitcase, etc. but I couldn't replace all the hard work that was contained in that silly computer bag!
As I began scooping up everything, I did notice something important missing: my wallet.
At that point, I was mad at myself and blamed myself for leaving the car unlocked and leaving my purse in the car. I knew it would be a hassle canceling credit cards, getting a new license, etc. BUT I HAD MY COMPUTER!
Lesson # 23 - Don't leave belongings visible in your car and lock your car doors :)
Like anything in life - even when something bad happens - try to look at the positives of the situation.
Usually when I'm faced with a big decision or something happens where I need to reflect, I like to make a Pros and Cons list. I actually write down the pros and cons and reflect on each one. Here's my pros and cons list as I reflect on this robbery:
Lesson # 24 - Reflection is not only important in teaching, but in all aspects of life.
Lesson # 25 - Look for the silver lining in every situation!
Teaching Connection: Remain Calm
In the teaching profession, there will be times when you feel like I did on Friday morning. In the span of just a few minutes I felt: Naive, Dumbfounded, Frustrated, Scared, Anxious, Elated, Lucky and Overjoyed! When faced with situations like this, try to remain calm, in control and level headed.
I had a situation occur last year in class that scared both my students and myself. After the situation was over and the students and I had time to reflect together, one of my boys paid me the best compliment I could have asked for. He said, "Ms. Kress - no matter what happens you always stay so calm." Now, I know that's not always true, but over my seven years in the classroom I have worked on being more calm - no matter what happens. I can't say that I've mastered it - but the students obviously realize when you're in control and when you're not in control.
Many times, the students will channel your emotions. For their sake and yours, try to remain calm! Always be in control. Teaching is a unique profession where unexpected things happen everyday. The way you handle these situations will have a great impact on how the students view you as the leader in your classroom.
Lesson # 26 - Remain calm and in control.
Teaching Connection: Find a Role Model - Be a Role Model
Fourteen years ago my sister and I were driving through Wal-Mart's parking lot when we were broadsided. My sister, who was 18 at the time and a huge car lover, did exactly the opposite of what I expected someone to do when her precious car had just been hit: She remained calm. She made sure I was ok and the two ladies in the other car were ok. She called 911 and my parents. She may have been upset, but she didn't show it - SHE was in control!
Five years ago I was with my sister when we found that HER car was broken into. The thieves rummaged through her trunk and took some of her belongings, however she remained calm -SHE was in control. I remember her joking, "Well, now it looks like I get to clean out my trunk!"
My sister is one of my ROLE MODELS! I hope that when faced with difficult situations, I will remain calm and in control like she does. At school I have other colleagues who I look up to. They consistently remain calm even when the situation is difficult. It's important to find these role models in our schools and it's important to consciously try to be this type of role model for our students.
Lesson # 27 - Use difficult situations to model good decision making for your students.
What do you do to remain calm and in control when faced with difficult situations in front of your students? Share your thoughts on this topic below in the comments or contact me on Twitter (@KressClass) Now, I'm off to the DMV to hopefully get a new license! :)
Thanks for reading,