The Final Minutes

I've been thinking a lot lately about how much a difference it makes to control the tone (and my temper) at the end of the day. I've been working hard to facilitate a smoother process packing up at the end of the day. And although the results have been mixed, I've been working at the same time to relax when things remain chaotic. Getting flustered, frustrated or furious doesn't help the situation, and I definitely don't feel like going gray earlier than I have to.

Along with the hectic nature of getting the students packed up, the behavior of my most challenging students usually reaches a peak at this time at well. I used to think their behavior just got worse and worse during the afternoon. I've realized though that really it's an unfortunate convergence of the low point of my patience and the high point of their restlessness. Keeping my cool has helped avoid some of the escalation and teacher-student brinksmanship that can happen.

With my new attitude towards the final hours, and final minutes of my day, it's helped me to keep my entire day in perspective. Sometimes things can just get out of control as students are packing up, as they're not always the best at respecting each other's space or feelings. Whether they're bumping into someone else or bugging someone to hurry up or bugging someone by not getting ready fast enough, it can lead to a lot of conflict. These conflicts can sometimes skew the attitude toward my whole day. Lately though, as I've tried to keep the class and myself calmer, I've also avoided letting the last few minutes poison the whole day.


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