Survival of the Fittest

And thus it begins – the last week dash toward the winter break. We know students and staff members are stir-crazy. So, we must be aware this will impact behavior on many levels.

Step One: Slow down. Modeled behaviors are internalized, and if we are frantic, we will escalate the crazy factor. Calm behavior from a caring adult can ground a classroom full of excited students. There is comfort in knowing and sensing a person is in complete control (even when we feel as though we want to run out of the room screaming into the night.)

Step Two: Be patient with yourself and your students. The brain can only consciously attend to one thing at a time, and it is safe to say, content may not be that one thing, for any of us. We are all “mentally” being pulled in several directions, and chances are good behaviors are being fed by heightened emotions, normal at this time of year.

Step Three: Focus on those aspects of your job you enjoy: the student with the quirky sense of humor, a grateful parent, your colleagues… The behaviors on which we focus are magnified, so make the conscious choice to magnify “the good”.

Although it is a crazy time of year for educators, the message (at least in the mainstream media) is one of peace, thankfulness, generosity, compassion and good will. Department stores capitalize on these themes. Perhaps we should do the same. Not only will this send a good message to our students, but it might just have a positive impact on their behavior, as well.