Could “Shhh” Be What Keeps Me Calm?

After school today, I was watching and listening to some videos that I recorded in Phys-Ed. As I listened to them, I heard myself utter a word that I often do: “Shhh.” Listen back to any of my video recordings. I usually say, “shhh,” at least once, and usually multiple times. I don’t even realize that I’m doing so. In fact, at different times in my teaching career, I’ve focused on not saying, “shhh,” and improving in dialogues with students, and yet, this is something that I can’t seem to stop doing.

Sometimes I catch myself saying, “shhh,” in a busy hallway or a noisy staffroom. I say it quietly. It’s never directed at anyone specifically. Often the word comes out of my mouth before I can stop it. And it was actually, as I think back to the times when I utter this word, that I was able to have my epiphany today: along with my other strategies, “shhh” has become a way for me to self-regulate. It’s kind of like deep breathing: something else that works really well for me. 

It’s as I say, “shhh,” that I’m able to quiet the noise around me and focus on what’s happening in front of me. Rarely does anyone respond to the word. I think that it’s so quiet that others have come to ignore it just as I have come to not hear it myself. The word works though. I find it incredibly hard to focus with any noise around me. I can’t hear anything. I can’t think about anything. I can’t respond to anything. But I’m a Kindergarten teacher, and many students talk to learn. There’s always some noise around me, even if it’s a low hum, and I need to learn to deal with this noise. Could “shhh” be one of the ways that I cope? What do others do? As I think ahead to what is surely to be a noisy year-end Kindergarten field trip to Lil’ Monkeys, I likely will be uttering “shhh” a lot. I hope that it calms me just as well tomorrow as it has at other times.


As part of my final project for Foundations 4, I am blogging about topics related to the four Foundations courses. While this post only uses some of the terminology, there are links to self-regulation, dysregulation, invisible stressors, and re-framing behaviour. I hope that these blog posts provoke more conversations around these important topics.

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