Teachers, the winds of change are blowing, ushering in summer and all manner of crazy and challenging behaviors. Though our students might not be able to articulate it in words, they sense the upcoming changes 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 helps us feel safe and frees up our brains to attend to other things. However, when routines are disrupted, anxieties rise, and our brains are put on alert.
When I was 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 young boy in the family about an impending threat. Though the phrase was only used once in the whole series, it stuck. And individuals of my generation still utter those famous words: “Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!”
Of course, kids don’t use that phrase now, but in essence their behaviors often give us that same message. After a year of consistency in the classroom, they know that summer will soon arrive, their schedules will change, and like the Robinson family, they will feel lost in space.
So to the extent possible, avoid stripping down the room and counting down the days – as these acts can heighten anxiety. While school is still in session, stay consistent, stay patient, and be the grounding force that prepares your students for their summer journey by giving them a positive and safe launch.