I wish I could say that my classroom is always a calm place when I want it to be calm, energized when I want it to be energized, quiet when I want it to be quiet. But alas, there are more than 20 other people determining the mood of our room. Sometimes, I work really really really hard to try and establish a certain atmosphere, and then I step back and realize, “hey, this right now, it just isn’t working.”
Then, if I’m particularly with-it, I try to adjust my own goal so that it doesn’t feel like a battle between me and them, and instead a dance in which we might step on each other’s toes a bit, but eventually we’ll get into a rhythm. Sometimes we get into that rhythm, and sometimes we don’t. I feel rather beat on the days that end without us ever having gotten there.
Today, we got there. Getting there doesn’t mean the day was perfect (there’s clearly no such thing as perfection in a school day), but it does mean that everyone sort of felt on the same page. It’s a “we’re all in this together” sensation. There were lots of signs that showed me that it wasn’t just me who noticed this today:
- Midday, a kid was kicking chairs as he walked towards the carpet. Another kid said to him, “Come on don’t start that.”
- I have a bit of a cough so my vocal strength has been wavering. At a noisy point in the day, one girl turned around and said, “Shh! She can’t talk loud over us!”
- Right after lunch, a girl started to say something rude to another student; a third student elbowed her and got her to stop mid-sentence.
- One student was out sick all last week. During choice time today, I overheard her saying, “Man, I’m actually kind of glad I’m back at school. It seems like we’ve had a pretty good day!”
Arguably best of all, come 3:05, most of the chairs were already pushed in, there wasn’t a lot of debris on the floor, and the desks were even in some semblance of table groups.
Now if only I could figure out how to consistently replicate this rhythm…