We all have tough days in the classroom – but what about when those hard days start happening regularly, or even every day? How can you turn things around and get more of the days that you really enjoy? Let’s talk about this, what can help when you’re dealing with never-ending classroom challenges?
I’m big on reflection, taking time to dig deep and think through what’s really behind what’s happening in the classroom. This can be hard when you’re right in the middle of it. If you’re in a place where it feels like nothing is going right and there’s nothing you can do about it, then we need to find a better headspace before you can work on changing your daily experience. So can you find one thing that’s going right? What’s one part of the day that you enjoy? Is there one thing that your group really loves right now? Or maybe one thing that made you smile this week? Focus on these and use any opportunity to incorporate more of these moments.
Then take some time for you. What makes you happy? This post has some of my go-tos if you need some inspiration. When you’re feeling a little more positive, then consider whether this challenge is something you can work through on your own, or if you need a little support. In this case I’m thinking another trusted teacher or mentor that you can share with openly, but if you’re really feeling like it goes deeper than just what’s happening in the classroom then please contact a professional mental health care provider.
The most important thing is to be honest with yourself. What are you bringing to the classroom with you, and how is this impacting your children? What are you taking home from the classroom, and how is this affecting you and your personal life? Is there anything happening during the day that you can take accountability for? These aren’t always fun questions to explore, so don’t feel like you have to dive in and answer them all at once. Take it one step at a time and give yourself grace. We’re all human, which means that nothing we do happens within a vacuum.
After you’ve looked at what you’re bringing into the classroom, do the same for your students. What’s happening in their lives? Do some have more challenges than others or they all coming to school with a lot to handle? Is there a common thread? Could something in the classroom be impacting specific emotions? Or is the classroom their safe space, so you’re getting all of the emotions that they can’t let out other places?
Life gets heavy, and that’s especially true for children who are just learning to express what they’re feeling. Is there any way for you to breath a breathe of fresh air into your classroom routine or take a week to just love on each other?
I know this is a lot, but I’m hoping that offering these reflection questions will give you another way to look at what you’re experiencing. An outside perspective can be really eye opening. At the same time, there’s so much to be said for trusting your intuition. You know yourself, and you know your group of children. Listen to that inner voice when you’re feeling stuck!