Maybe it’s because the year is coming to an end and I know that I’m going to need to say, “goodbye.” I have to handle the stress.
Maybe it’s because the Stuart Shanker Book Club is forever making me think.
Maybe it’s because I’m still dreaming, hoping, wishing, thinking, and praying for a Report Card Fairy. Any contacts anyone? 🙂 In the meantime, I need to stay focused and finish writing them.
Maybe it’s because less clutter helps me feel better.
Maybe it’s because I know that I’m a better teacher for all of my students when I’m that much calmer.
Here’s the truth: the topic of self-regulation used to make me giggle. I thought that it was just more edu-jargon, and we’d soon come to realize that students just needed to behave. But that’s not it at all! I apologize to everyone for not realizing this before.
Here are my reformed thoughts: when the room is covered in visuals and the chairs are dragging across the floor, I can feel my shoulders tense. I’m not the only one. I see this in my students too. We need some neutral backgrounds. We need some quiet areas in the room. We need the chance to take the deep breath, tune out the noise, and have the thinking time.
Self-regulation is not just a passing fad. It’s a way to help ALL of our students succeed, and it’s a way to help us become more successful as well.
A little less clutter …
A little more calm …
A lot more kindness …
A happier you!
What does self-regulation mean for you? What does it mean for your students? How does it help both of you? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
I often read your posts and this one is really resonating with me because it shows as teachers we are ALWAYS learning, adapting and changing the way we think about the world around us. I teach FDK and my students are what has been called (by others) “highly regulated”. What does this mean and how did it happen? I have thought a GREAT deal about this lately and I often reflect on our (mine and my ECE partner’s) approach to our students. We have quiet calm areas, couches, little leather chairs and pillows (places to retreat to) but we also have a very secure, expected routine that is known well and this makes our students feel safe. The students in our room are not given free reign to do whatever they like but they are given the opportunity to make choices and we value those choices. They are given the choice of where to learn, who to learn with and what materials they would like to use. The choices they make are respected by us, as their facilitators and they know it. They have confidence to gather materials, to ask questions, to include friends, to speak their mind and to feel pride in their learning. We had visitors the other day and I felt busier than normal in a class of 30. Three of our SK boys wanted to make a house for one of the dogs in the Pet Store. I had given them a shoe box but otherwise had given them no direction or help of any kind. Once I had a chance to check on them they had: taken out newspaper from under the sink, laid it out across one of the many carpeted areas in the room, found paint, paintbrushes, water and glue. They were busy – all three – collaborating on the door, the colour, the purpose, the plan and they were busy and self-directed. It’s JUNE! I know a lot of teachers would say: “How dare they do all that without asking?” My thoughts were PURE PRIDE. Look at my lovely, little independent thinkers who took it upon themselves to be resourceful, creative and respectful of my conversation with other adults. It’s a BIG shift in thinking but once you get there… it is oh, so AMAZING!
Keep blogging. I love reading about each adventure you take on and the learning that you take out of it.
Thank you so much for your comment, Stephanie! I found myself nodding along to it as well. I never mentioned predictable routines and choice in my blog post, but these are both things that I value too. As a staff, we’ve really been focusing on student choice this year, and I can totally see the overlap with self-regulation. I think that choice and routine also help my students self-regulate, and I love when they take the kind of ownership over their learning as you described here.
As a Grade 5 teacher, I’ve learned a lot from my primary colleagues (both online and in-person), and I’m so excited to go back to Grade 1 next year and put into practice even more of what I’ve learned. Self-regulation has helped me see many things differently this year, and I’m glad that I’ve learned what self-regulation really means.
Hi Aviva! I applaud the fact that you are exploring the world of self-regulation with your junior students.
Often people assume this is only applicable to FDK.
I have no doubt you have seen an impact of this inquiry on spy our students’ health and well-being.
You might be interested in this summer’s ‘Adolescent Literacy Camp’ for professionals, featuring Stuart Shanker and Jean Clinton.
Thanks as always for creating authentic learning encounters for your children.
Thank you so much for the comment, kind words, and the link! I absolutely love learning from Stuart Shanker and Jean Clinton, so I’ll be checking this information out for sure. I’ve come to see more and more that self-regulation matters regardless of age, and I hope that teachers of various grades read, Calm, Alert, and Learning. I think that it will benefit them more than they know. I know that the book’s done that for me!
I have appreciated your sharing this year. I plan to use some of the comments to help teachers reflect on their own practice.
Thanks so much, Byron! I’d be curious to hear what other teachers think and what changes they make to their practices. I know that I’ve made many to mine this year!