I learn a lot from my students every day. It was actually a student’s comment at the end of the day yesterday that inspired this blog post. We were running late. All day long, I pay very little attention to the time. I love that our school has no bells — minus those for the nutrition breaks — and since I have my students five out of six periods every day, I rarely even look at the clock. If I’m on duty, I make sure that the students are ready for recess on time, and I try to make sure that they’re organized for when the prep coverage teacher arrives, but other than that, we look at our day as larger blocks of time. We all need time to dive into our learning, and we try to take this time by not working period by period. But then the end of the day comes, and I feel my stress level rise.
The bell rings at 3:10. The hallways are busy, and our class is near one of the exit doors. There is always lots of action near the doors by about 3:08. I know that lining up for too long is problematic for many students, so I try not to give too much extra time to get ready. That being said, we always seem to be running behind. And then, when I realize the bell is going to go any minute, every student seems to have a question, a problem, or a request — it never fails. I know that my patience — that seems to be in big supply all day long — is in short supply at the time when my own stress level is up. Some days are worse than others. Yesterday was one of those days.
It was 3:07, and the students were just collecting the items from our class. Somebody wanted a piece of paper to bring home. Another student couldn’t find exactly what she needed. And about six more students were in line and running out of patience themselves. At that point, I knew we needed to get out into the hallway and get packed up. I told the kids, “We’re late. We’re late. We have to get going. Everything else will need to wait until Monday.” We quickly moved into the hall, and as the students were getting ready quickly, one student was really taking her time. She was folding everything neatly to go into her bag. She was double-checking her locker. I said to her, “Come on. We need to hurry up. We don’t have hours. The bell’s going to ring any second.” That’s when she looked at me and said the words that continue to stick with me: “Oh Miss Dunsiger. It’s not going to take me hours … just a couple of minutes. It will be okay.”
And you know what? She was right. None of my students go on the bus. The school is not going to implode the second the bell goes. Everything will still be fine if we are a minute late. We will not be long, and we will still make it out safely. I’m not going to purposely run late, but I’m going to try to stop panicking. I have an amazing class, with incredible students that make me think, reflect, and change on a daily basis. I love my day at school, and I really am happy all day long. So why should that change in the last second of the day?
When I went home last night, all I could think about was that student that never did get his piece of paper and the student that never did find what she was looking for. This wasn’t their fault. It was mine, and I’m sorry! From now on, time is not going to be the barrier. If I’m less stressed, the students remain calmer, and we all need a little bit of calm in our lives. How do you avoid being pressured by the clock? What impact do you see this having on kids? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Aviva – Determined To Improve!
Isn’t amazing how well our students read us. We know we can read them but often forget they can read us as well. Thinking this time of year is such a stresser. I blogged about a similar thought yesterday.
Thanks for the comment, Faige! This is so very true. I think it’s important for us to be aware of this (especially at this time of the year, when we can feel a little more stressed). Excited to go and check out your post!