Are there things in your classroom that drive you crazy? Are any of them systems you put into place?
The second question may sound silly, but it’s worth asking yourself. Sometimes we design systems that look good on paper. Then the students arrive and the arrangements don’t work the way we imagined. Many times I’ve blamed my students when I should have tweaked my program or retaught my expectations. This is true of systems at school or at home.
For example, let’s just say that this morning I walked into the kitchen and found my daughter’s breakfast dishes in the sink again. Dirty dishes left two feet from the dishwasher drive me crazy. Has she not learned that the dishes must be in the dishwasher to become clean? I should have called her over to the sink, stated my confidence in her motor skills and coached her through rinsing and loading the dishes. But instead I did them myself because it was, well, easier. The problem is that the same thing will occur again tomorrow morning. We can expect the same result in our classrooms when we see a problem and then do what the students should be doing rather than tweak the system or re-teach the kids. This is a formula for driving ourselves crazy.
If you can identify something that’s driving you wild, consider how you can tweak it. In your classroom, a tweak might involve assigning new seats, changing the time of a given activity, creating classroom jobs, or rethinking dismissal routines. Maybe all that’s needed is re-teaching what a specific process should look and sound like.
In the long run, everyone wins when our systems work well. There are so many things in the world we cannot control. Don’t allow yourself to be driven crazy by the things you can.