How To Calm And Reset Your Classroom Smart Classroom Management

3 min read

Your temperament will transfer to your students like Covid in a college dorm.

Thus, your calmness from opening bell to dismissal is critical. That isn’t to say that you can’t be enthusiastic about your subject matter or that you shouldn’t emote, playact, and express yourself.

You can and should.

But you need to pick your spots. You need to save your kinetic energy for directed lessons. For transitions, general instruction, and providing information, however, which is most of your day, it pays to be as calm as a zen garden.

Over time, your consistently easygoing and confident demeanor can make a huge difference. This is why in previous articles we’ve covered how to lower your stress, and keep it lowered, before your students even enter your classroom.

But what if it’s too late? What if the tension you’ve brought into the room is causing them to bounce off the walls?

In other words, they’re antsy. They can’t focus. They’re irritable or silly and excitable. They can’t seem to settle down and get their work done.

What then?

Well, there is a simple calming strategy that’s helpful to both you and them. It works to reset the classroom and lower its emotional temperature. It also feels good and spikes overall contentment.

So what is it? It’s to take a break for one minute of silence. Not as a punishment, mind you. It must never be viewed as a negative reaction to behavior. It’s a mental respite to allow breathing and heart rates to return to normal.

Slower and deeper breathing triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the body’s calming mechanism.

Practically, the way it works is to first explain to your students why you’re doing it and how it benefits them. You can even tell them that you’re doing it as much for yourself as for them.

Show them how to sit up straight and breathe with the diaphragm. In and out through the nose while filling the lungs from the bottom instead of raising the chest. You can count aloud if you like—four to six second inhales and exhales work best—or let them follow your example.

Over time, you can teach them how to extend the length of their exhale and attune to the warm sensation of their breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils.

Some classrooms I enter to observe teachers give me the jitters, like I’ve had too much coffee. I can feel the unhealthy tension and stress the moment I walk in the door. Students often look like they’re about to vault out of their seats—or escape into a deep sleep.

Now, it’s important to mention that everything we do here at SCM, all of our strategies, are meant to create a calm and happy classroom. The one minute of silence strategy, however, works regardless. It’s something you can pull out anytime and see improvement.

It allows you to hit the reset button and clear the boards for what comes next.

You can schedule the strategy as part of every day if you wish. Mid-morning, after lunch, and right before dismissal are especially effective times.

As it becomes a habit it will be something your students look forward to, a calming recalibration to a happier state of mind and body.

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