At Least I’m Good At Cheering Myself Up…

Today a student brought me a note. At first, I barely looked at it, distracted in my attempt to convince the class that listening to the sounds of the ocean while writing is beneficial. Most of my students have never been to the beach, so when our peaceful CD started playing and they looked at me funny, I told them to imagine they were writing in front of the sea. Again, strange looks, until I said I was imagining myself there right then, the sun shining, the waves crashing, with a big old smile on my face. That time, they smiled back and nodded, finally getting the picture.

Then, I remembered to look at the note and realized it was a list of all the things the student likes about me, (much more interesting than the complaints I was expecting to read). See, when she was really upset with me last week, an administrator asked her to make this list. She wasn’t asked to share, so I forgot about it, but today she unexpectedly gave it to me anyway.

My favorite entry:

Mrs. M is good at cheering herself up. 

An astute observation, particularly as I sat there using the ocean to indeed cheer myself up, soaking in a few moments of artificially-created tranquility.

This was followed by:

Mrs. M is good at cheering the class up.

So, as easily as I sometimes fall into a funk, at least I’m good at cheering myself (and others) back up. This is probably the best compliment I’ve received in a long time. Thank you dear, bright, sometimes-angry-but-still-forgiving child.

I leave you with 22 crudely-shot seconds of the glorious Oregon Coast in Bandon from this summer. Maybe it will cheer you up too in its quiet simplicity.

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9 thoughts on “At Least I’m Good At Cheering Myself Up…

  1. Your words touch a lot of unseen emotions of life.. Wonderful!

  2. jeffo says:

    That’s very sweet. It’s funny – having grown up near the ocean it’s strange to me the idea that some people have never been there. Then again, I suppose people who live in or near the desert would think it’s strange I’ve never been there!

    • oliviaobryon says:

      Yes, I can imagine! Most of my students are low-income, though, which I think plays a big factor. It was so incredible to take them across the Bay and Golden Gate bridges into San Francisco last year. The bus driver literally told them, “Look out the window if you’ve never seen the ocean before!” They went wild. 🙂

  3. kingmidget says:

    I think you can probably guess what I’m going to say … I need more than 22 seconds. 🙂
    But, thank you for those seconds. Just another reminder of where I need to go for a few days … real soon.
    I, too, marvel at kids who have never been to the ocean. When my son was in the 5th grade, his class went on a two night field trip to the Headlands in Marin. So many of his classmates had never been to the ocean before, even though we’re barely more than an hour away. Hard to imagine not knowing what the ocean really sounds or looks like.

    • oliviaobryon says:

      I love the Marin Headlands! Went there myself in sixth grade. I wish I could take my students on those kinds of trips. Unfortunately, with 120 students in fourth/fifth grade and zero money, we’re talking tens of thousands of dollars to make that happen!

      Hope you make it up the coast soon!

  4. […] Olivia Obryon who has one of the toughest, most important jobs out there and still manages to […]

  5. Thanks for the ocean video…even though it was only 22 seconds it transported me to that calm place in my mind I don’t visit often enough. We will be in San Diego for Thanksgiving so I plan on getting my fill then!

    • oliviaobryon says:

      Yes, we all need that calm place! Amazing how those sounds can trigger relaxation 🙂 Enjoy your upcoming trip! I’ve been going through ocean withdrawals lately…

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