A Trick To Staying Calm All Day Long

Smart Classroom Management: A Trick To Staying Calm All Day LongKeeping a calm, unruffled temperament makes classroom management easier.

It effectively removes excitability, which is a major cause of misbehavior.

It makes you more likable and worthy of trust.

It gives you leadership presence and allows you to build effortless rapport.

But for many teachers, it’s also easier said than done.

In fact, the harder you try to stay calm, the harder it is.

You see, when you put effort into something that is by nature effortless, it causes more tension and stress, not less.

You become a volcano simmering under the surface. Staying outwardly calm becomes an act of willpower rather than what it should be:

A reflection of how you feel on the inside.

So how do you get there, especially if you’re inclined to react emotionally when things don’t go well in the classroom?

Well, one proven method is to visualize yourself staying calm in stressful situations.

Here’s how it works:

Take a few minutes to jot down the times and situations during the school day that cause you stress.

Is it when your class becomes loud during group work? Is it when you notice misbehavior while giving instruction? Is it when a particular student tries to argue with you?

Be as specific as you can.

Now, before school begins each morning, sit quietly with your list and visualize yourself handling those moments calmly and successfully.

See yourself enforcing consequences with equanimity. See yourself following through, reteaching, modeling, and setting expectations with composure and confidence.

See yourself enjoying your job.

It’s important to point out that everyone visualizes a bit differently. Some people see images flashing before them. Others see moving pictures, which can range from perfectly clear to blurry and herky-jerky.

They’re all equally valid and effective.

I recommend spending two or three minutes each morning visualizing the more stressful moments of your day. However, you can also include lessons, stories, and activities.

You’ll discover that you can visualize a lot in a very short period of time. Fast motion is good.

Even if you have only thirty seconds before your students arrive, it’s worth closing your eyes, taking a deep breath, and watching your best self successfully managing your day, Charlie Chaplin style.

A great way to finish your visualization is to conjure up an outrageously—even comically—stressful situation, like a troop of Howler monkeys swinging through your door and windows, and then watching yourself handling it with aplomb.

It sounds silly, but it works.

Visualization has been shown to be nearly as effective as actual practice. And because you’re able to do it over and over again in a short period of time, it’s remarkably efficient.

The best part, though, is that once you do your visualization for the day, you’re done. You don’t have to think about it afterward or struggle trying to make it come true.

You’ll find yourself naturally handling things with grace and poise. You’ll feel more prepared and confident and less hesitant.

You’ll be calmer on the inside.

Where it counts.

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17 Responses to A Trick To Staying Calm All Day Long

  1. Mary Kanaley February 4, 2017 at 9:51 am #

    Love this post. It piggy backs on the one you wrote about slowing down. It has helped immensely. The only problem I have ( and I have read your PE and Art book-very good) is I teach middle school PE and Art. I have problems with getting students motivated and excited during fitness days and we play upbeat loud music to help, but this seems to get a few of my more rowdy students over excited and then the misbehaviors begin. I normally stay cool, but sometimes they get to me and I hate that. I then become cranky and stern with all the students. Two of the students I am referring to are diagnosed with ADHD ( these also seem to often be the children who get over excited in art-collaboration). They are sweet kids, but they wear me down. Any thoughts?

    • Michael Linsin February 4, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

      Hi Mary,

      I’m glad you like the article! Your question would take some back and forth between us, and I would also have questions for you. It’s not something I can answer directly here or even in a future article. You may want to consider personal coaching. 🙂

      Michael

  2. Megan February 4, 2017 at 10:54 am #

    Thank you for all of these practical tips.Hearing practical advice that makes sense (and is not a pull-out hour long lecture) on a regular basis has been such a relief! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    • Michael Linsin February 4, 2017 at 12:51 pm #

      It’s my pleasure, Megan. Thanks for being a regular reader.

      Michael

  3. Annette February 4, 2017 at 7:09 pm #

    Michael,
    I’ve been a teacher with 30 years experience and I still find myself looking forward to your articles because they are so succinct and easily applicable. I have just bought your book ‘Dream Class and am finding it encapsulates so many excellent management tips. One question – i have a boy in my class who has had a traumatic childhood and as a result is EXTREMELY volatile in class. He can go from 1 – 100 in the blink of an eye. last year he regularly trashed the class and at times the rest of the children had to be evacuated to another room. Do I use the classroom management that the class has agreed to ie warnings etc etc

    • Michael Linsin February 5, 2017 at 8:19 am #

      Hi Annette,

      Yes, but when you get a chance please read through the difficult student category of the archive.

      Michael

  4. Claudia February 4, 2017 at 8:01 pm #

    I make time every morning, at least 10 minutes, to meditate and then another 10 minutes of yoga. It makes a world of difference in my demeanor and keeps me grounded. Thanks for your books (I have 2 and bought one for my principal! ) Keep up the good work and thanks for supporting us.

    • Michael Linsin February 5, 2017 at 8:20 am #

      You’re welcome, Claudia. Thanks for sharing your morning routine!

      Michael

  5. Christine February 5, 2017 at 6:12 am #

    I’m going to try this!

    • Michael Linsin February 5, 2017 at 8:20 am #

      Great Christine! I think you’ll find it helpful.

      Michael

  6. Mary February 5, 2017 at 2:59 pm #

    Hi Michael, I am a para in an elementary school. I find your articles very sensible and helpful. Recently I had a student hit me on the back which resulted in his suspension. I’m not sure what to say to him about this. When it happened I walked out of the classroom and called in the special ed teacher. This boy is quite intelligent but is categorized in special ed because of his behavior. What do I say to him? Mary

    • Michael Linsin February 5, 2017 at 4:43 pm #

      Hi Mary,

      The student was held accountable, so I don’t believe you need to say anything to him.

      Michael

  7. Laurie Preston February 5, 2017 at 5:39 pm #

    Aplomb… excellent word and my new Montra!
    February is the time of the year where I find they need the most practice reviewing expectations as well!

  8. Celeste February 9, 2017 at 8:59 pm #

    This has been your most helpful advice yet. I tried this today, and I was much calmer than I’ve felt in a long time. I still feel unsure of myself a lot of the time, but right now I’m focusing on being calm, focused, and happy. Thank you.

    • Michael Linsin February 10, 2017 at 8:19 am #

      Great to hear, Celeste! I’m glad the strategy has helped.

      Michael

  9. Terri February 17, 2017 at 11:21 am #

    Hey, Michael, I am in an awful situation that is breaking me down. I have become a long term sub for a freshman class and I have hit a limit of my calm. I am in a class where my students had a teacher with burnout who was done with it all. My new students are not used to having to sit down, do work, respect the room (they have broken 7 windows in this one room), or respecting the teacher. She found a new job and left with little notice. They have been so crazy that the AP has put them all under restrictive rules. This has made many of them very combative but it may be needed. I have had to be very strict and it is hard to do it and be calm when the majority of the students are fighting me. I have brought in a new set of rules and a new way of teaching. We have to do thing differently because I have no technology and this is not my subject. This is turning into an awful situation that I have to try and be positive in. I have hit the point where I go to bed and get up loathing my classes. I bought your book but it hasn’t helped much. The students fight any change from their old teacher’s set up every day and it’s been a month. I don’t want to do this for every day.

    • Michael Linsin February 17, 2017 at 11:54 am #

      Hi Terri,

      I’m so sorry to hear how you’re struggling. It sounds like you’re dealing with a very difficult challenge—one that is far too involved for me to offer reliable advice in the time and space we have here. There is a cost involved, but you might want to consider personal coaching.

      Michael