Someone recently called me an “impulsive speaker”. This is probably a very accurate description of myself.
I think this impulsivity began in high school when I decided to be more true to myself. I left the “popular” kids behind because I hated how fake, backstabbing, and sarcastic most of them seemed to be. I chose new friends and made the choice to deliberately avoid gossip, sarcasm, and to be as honest as possible about my thoughts and feelings. I felt like I became a better person in the process.
Sure, I had a smaller group of friends, but I felt like I could trust them with my true thoughts and feelings. I still love some of my high school friends to this day (more than 10 years after graduation!).
However, this truth telling and honesty business became a habit. I thought that all people could tell that the things I say come from a good place, without negative intentions, and that I just try to avoid any drama as much as possible. This is not always the case.
It doesn’t work as well when you are a teacher. I guess if someone asks me that old school question, “what is your greatest weakness” that I should say that I don’t have as much patience as I would like and that sometimes I say things impulsively.
Of course you have to have more of a filter when you are a teacher. This is why I regularly choose to avoid cursing in my everyday life so I say things like: “Oh my goodness”; “interesting”; “hmm”; “fudgemuffins”; or my favorite “I’m going to walk away now to breath for a minute”.
I like to practice yoga, so I know how important just breathing is. So I do it. I try. I breathe and walk away until I can come back to the issue with a level head…most of the time.
You see, I want the best for my students. I want them to do well on their tests. I want them to enjoy learning. I want them to read and write like their lives depend on it. I have high standards and I expect students to be on task and learning to the best of their abilities. I have had two years in a row worth of students where my high standards have paid off and they made great progress. I have little patience for those who get in the way of these goals.
Sometimes, kids who have frequent behavior issues and off-task behavior in the classroom can tell when I’m losing my patience. Instead of sending them to the office everyday to deal with their behavior, I strain my patience so they can continue receiving instruction in class. So they hear more of the, “Oh. My. Goodness.” and the, “I’ve already explained it three different ways, your friend tried to explain it to you, and now you are throwing an airplane… so I’m going to walk away and let you think about it on your own for a bit.”
So this is my reflection on my lack of patience and “impulsive speaking”. I know I have become better at having more patience in the classroom over the years (two years of teaching pre-school will do that for you!), but I recognize that this is still an area that I need to work on.
Perhaps I will get it something like, “Have patience. Just Breathe.” Tattooed on my inner forearm. It is something I have been thinking about for a while. I am working on it.
What do you do to stay calm under pressure? How do you deal with the kids who are already receiving tons of interventions and still have off task behavior?