It is easy for a teacher to get tired. Over it all. I should know.
It can often feel as if you keep giving of yourself to no avail. You feel empty because you feel like you must be all things to all kids and guess what? YOU CAN’T. However, I believe you can get darn close by fostering consistency and safety by using rituals.
Our summer teacher-read is “Fostering Resilient Learners: Strategies for Creating a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom,” and my favorite chapter so far definitely helped me switch from the woe-is-teacher paradigm.
This chapter I loved reading is: CHAPTER 7: No One Said Relationship is Easy
This brief chapter shares the story of a young girl who while in the midst of an abusive home-life situation, sought solace in an elderly woman who was available every day at 3pm.
Then the book goes on to ask you: WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR YOUR STUDENTS TO SHOW THEM YOU CAN BE TRUSTED? WHAT’S YOUR “EVERYDAY AT 3pm?”
Then I got to thinking: this sounds like a ritual!
I have integrated so many rituals in my life this year and I love them. The beauty of rituals is that you can give them a meaning that matters to you. They give you reasons to want to wake up and go through what would otherwise be a mundane existence.
Imagine if your students feel connected to you and even excited to come to class because of the certainty of rituals!
The biggest part of tending to a relationship is to have a foundation of TRUST. This entails things such as:
Students NEED these three things, badly. And you know how we can get it to them? RITUALS!!!
Here are some ritual ideas I want to try out this year:
- Classroom Meetings
- INTENT: Foster Classroom Safety and Connectedness
- HOW TO DO: Schedule a weekly meeting(same time) to discuss general feelings about the class and connect. Be sure every voice is heard. Incorporate games/activities if necessary.
- Desk Olympics
- INTENT: Gives students direct ownership/connection to the classroom. Fosters safety
- HOW TO DO: Schedule a weekly or daily time to practice moving the desks to the allotted formations
- INTENT: Creates constancy, develops trust.
- HOW TO DO: Schedule a weekly or daily time you will ALWAYS be available to assist students
- A-B-C YOGA
- INTENT: Centers students’ bodies, inspires safety
- HOW TO DO: Schedule a daily or weekly time to do a yoga pose. Make this as short or long as you want it.
- TRASKETBALL WEEKLY CLEAN-UP
- INTENT: Creates a classroom community, builds excitement to mundane cleaning
- HOW TO DO: Schedule a daily or weekly time to allow students to throw old papers away. If you’re willing to commit to a classroom dunking contest with a goal and everything, go for it! I’m thinking about it.