Like all working moms and elementary teachers, I too was one of those that got sick over the winter break. It would have been convenient if I was the only one who felt bad in my house, but it turns out my two little Troubles got sick as well. It just so happened that they got sick on Christmas Eve too when no one was open. So needless to say I have been relying heavily on using the strategies that I write about even more so lately in the classroom.
As with any break, you feel like you are getting your sea legs, finding the perfect balance between what you know and what you feel, or connecting your head and your heart. A while back I wrote a post using my REACT© strategy ( if you haven’t gotten a chance to read it, or are new, welcome! ), and I realized that I should probably ask to take a step back before implementing the REACT© strategy and let me tell you why.
When anyone has a reaction that is an imbalance that is both physical and emotional, they feel it emotionally and sense it physically. Sometimes you can stop it before it affects your day to day happenings, which is ideal, and sometimes, it causes a road block in your ability to learn and focus. For example, let’s say you walk in the classroom late, upset and frustrated. That negative energy begins to float over you, like a fog in a good Saturday morning cartoon. It starts in the back of your forethoughts, festering and growing that you can’t shake of. As the sense of helplessness gains momentum, so does this inner sense of defeatism and negativity which you begin to think in your thoughts and feel physically. You may become antzy or daydream because really, what’s the point?
Enter the next strategy…. C-A-L-M©. Before you allow the fog of negative emotions was over you (think of the steam coming out of Yosemite Sam’s ears), try to refocus that into being C-A-L-M©. Now I must admit that this also comes in mighty handy when you are super frustrated with your class because they have forgotten how to listen over the weekend. Last week was one of those moments, when none of the tricks of the trade were working, and I simply said CALM, and this is what transpired: whatever chaos that happened froze, the noise became silent, their bodies into whatever calming position was comfortable for them. The majority of them ( including myself) sat down wherever they were standing, crossed their legs, and begin the following process:
C= can this (whatever this is that I am struggling with) really have this much power over what I am doing?
A= actively recognizing that I have lost my role in the learning process and how it can affect or effect others and our enviornment
L= what lesson can I learn from this moment in time, what can I take care away from it?
M= make a connection between how your mind is thinking or processing this reaction to how your heart is feeling right now
If you notice, it is not just the textbook definition of taking a deep breath and refocusing, or the tried and trued ancient classroom discipline tool of turning the lights on. You are reminding the students that they have a chance to change how the role that the issue ( or whatever this is) plays in their current moment right now. If it does correctly, the current of energy goes from the image of steam coming from Yosemite Sam’s to a flurry of hearts that Peppe le Peu feels when falling in love.
A flurry of hearts and positivity is what we want for any child we teach or raise, regardless of our role, and all it takes is for us to take a deep breath, a tiny step back, and to stay C-A-L-M.
Please remember if you like this post and think it may help others, please pass it on. We can only help our children, if we learn to help or share the knowledge we learn.