10 Ways to Remain Calm in the Classroom

We all have those days in the classroom where nothing goes right. We are beyond frustrated and we know we shouldn't let out students see our frustration but how do we stop it from showing? Today, I am going to share with you 10 tips to remain calm when you are surrounded by chaos!

This has always been one of my favorite quotes. Inside my classroom, my students and I face storms daily. How we approach life's storms affects us and all of those around us. We could choose to whine, vent, cry, lament, throw a tantrum or two, or spend our day angry. Or we can learn to embrace the storms. Laugh and dance when others would give up. We could be the reminder that with the rain comes new growth, new hope, new strength, and new talents. 

10 Ways to Remain Calm in the Classroom

Prepare - As teachers we spend a lot of time preparing our lessons and for subs. BUT do you prepare for the unexpected? For those days when the technology breaks or things are going as planned? Do you prepare for the day a child comes into your classroom too sad to work because their dog died the night before?

I do! I keep a few extra lessons on hand that are fun and calming. A word search with all my students names, a maze, word ladders, etc... It just needs to be simple and easy. Plan for 5-15 minute break.

Speak Calmly - The louder you are the louder your students will be. I tend to be loud. Sometimes my students think I am yelling. I'm not. I just forgot to use my inside voice. If my kids are above a 2... I check my voice level. Am I at a 1 or 2 at most? IF not, I need to get there. Speak slowly. Enunciate your words. Do not speak in monotones but drop down your own passion and excitement a notch or two.

Avoid Excitability - Most misbehaviors occur when a student is excited. Ensuring that nothing you are doing or preparing for causes excitement will ensure that the room stays calm. Stick to your routines. Be consistent with your expectations, rewards, and consequences. Don't change your schedule. Today (now) is not the time for something new.

Yoga Breathing - As part of our bully-prevention program, we learned different techniques to handle stress, anger, and disagreements. One of the best tools I have in my room is a series of yoga cards. I use these to teach the students a new technique of the week. Then when we are having a "moment" I call for a quick 30-second yoga break.

Skip the Generalization Trap - I am SO guilty of this! Was the entire day truly horrible?  Did everything really go wrong? Did that student do absolutely nothing today? Is that one kid always loud in the hallway? Skip the generalizations and go straight for the facts. Instead of saying "my class is always out of control in the afternoon," focus on what they are doing right. Capitalize on that. Grow it. Feed it. Encourage it. By changing your focus, both you and your class will be able to accomplish more.

Dim the lights and Read - The florescent lights in my room just do not get along with some of my students. For this reason, the lights are off most of the day. We use alternate lighting or just the emergency light that never goes off. Grab a good book and let the stress of the day melt away.

Add Music - Sometimes all one needs in a soothing song and it makes all right with the world. I use Pandora in my classroom or sometimes I just put on Flocabulary song that we have learned.

Choice Seating - Allow the students the option to pick where they are sitting and how often helps calm the classroom. I have many students who just need to sit on the floor sometimpes to get a new perspective on what we are learning.

The Quiet Zone - The Quiet Zone started as a 2-minute escape in my classroom for students that are having a rough day. It has become so much more. It's a place to rest when one is sick, a treat for a well behaved student, a place to wiggle, a sensory station, and a place to share one's secrets. This is a special cornered off space where the student can have "privacy" while still being visible to the teacher.

Mood Check - Lastly, take a look in the mirror and reflect upon your own feelings and actions at the moment. One of the hardest lessons for a new teacher to learn is that you alone set the tone. Come to school happy and you have a happy classroom. Come to school angry and soon everyone is angry. Keep the room clean and your student's will too. It's just like being a mama at home... everyone copies you. Your being watched and analyzed constantly. It will all be repeated back to someone else (probably with inaccuracies) so put your best mood and foot forward.

Regardless of the storm... one must take a step back, breath, and smile. Then... Then...  Take the time to dance. (GoNoodle anyone?)

Notes: Graphics Credit: The Cottage Market - Get your free copy of  umbrella quote here! You Name It Gallery - Purchase your copy of the Keep Calm quote here!

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