Teachers, if you haven’t noticed, the winds of change are blowing, ushering in summer and all manner of crazy restless and challenging behaviors. Though our students might not be able to articulate it in words, they sense the change and are reacting as expected.
Routines help ground us. When we get in the habit of doing things a certain way, our brains can predict and anticipate what’s coming. This puts anxiety at rest, helps us feel safe, and frees up our brains to worry about other things. However, when our routines are disrupted, anxiety rises and the brain is put on alert.
When I was very young I watched a futuristic show called Lost in Space. It was about a family and their robot trying to survive in deep space. In one episode the robot warned the youngest boy in the family about an impending threat. Though the phrase was only uttered one time in the whole series, it stuck. When danger was sensed, individuals of my generation would look at each other and utter those famous words: “Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!”
Of course, we don’t use that phrase now, but in essence, our students are giving us that same warning. For some of our kiddos school is the most predictable aspect of their lives and once summer hits, they too, like the Robinson family, will feel a bit Lost in Space. So to the extent possible, avoid stripping down the room and counting down the days as this heightens anxiety. While school is still in session stay consistent, stay patient, and be the grounding force that prepares them for their summer journey having had a positive and safe “launch”.