Liv·a·ble (adjective): worth living; enjoyable
Every Livable Lesson will encourage you to prioritize your own health and happiness by:
1. Sparking inspiration from a quote/research.
2. Connecting the quote/research to what you deserve as a teacher.
3. Promoting accountability with related actions to implement inside and outside your classroom.
4. Encouraging reflection with a related wellness question.
“Learning to be calm when you’re disrespected is a superpower.” – Unknown
“Students mirror our energy. If we stay calm when teaching— giving instructions, addressing individuals or the whole class— it’s amazing to see that this, too, happens with them. Whether we want the responsibility or not, we are constantly modeling for the children we teach ways to be out in the world” (Edutopia.org).
What You Deserve
Every day can bring unpredictable, stressful situations for anyone in any job. What makes these situations unique for teachers, though, is that they often happen when 30 students are looking at you, awaiting your response. We can’t act like chaotic moments are always preventable; I mean teachers are working with KIDS! Of course, things can stray from calm. What matters is how we re-establish the “calm after the storm.”
Despite not always having control over what occurs, you DO have 100% control over how you react and how the rest of your day is impacted. Establishing and maintaining that control, however, takes intentional effort. You can’t just try to move on without addressing your emotions or the tone that has been set in your classroom. When your adrenaline is pumping, it’s nearly impossible to get back to calm without purposeful actions:
➡️ If you can, take a student in the hallway to speak calmly about the situation. More often than not their attitude will shift when it’s just the two of you.
➡️ If you can, take a step outside your classroom to breathe on your own. If you are lucky enough to have a co-teacher, ask them to continue while you take a lap around the school.
➡️ If you regret how you reacted to a situation, have a class-wide discussion about why it happened and how you feel about it now. Honesty has a powerful effect on young minds.
➡️ Be proactively open about how you are feeling with your students. If you are feeling a little on edge, let them know at the beginning of class.
➡️ Try incorporating a “mindful moment” when needed in your classroom. Set a 5-minute timer, play nature sounds or calming music, and allow students (and yourself) to do something that quietly brings peace: reading, drawing, closing their eyes, breathing, etc.
Just remember that YOU are the calm in many students’ storms.
At School: Create a Calm Toolbox in your classroom for you and your students—this could be a list of things you all can do to calm down or an actual box of coloring pages, books, etc. to grab any time. The key is that the Calm Toolbox is accessible and that you have ongoing conversations about why it is important.
At Home:Consider something you can alter in your home environment to create a calming space.
What would you want a timid student in your class to learn from the way you react to a stressful situation?
What would you want the student who typically causes you stress to learn from how you react to them?
In health and happiness,
Founder of Livable Learning