After a very busy last couple of weeks that culminated in our Family-Teacher interviews this past Thursday, I still had enough “steam” left to focus on learning during our professional learning day on Friday. Enough, in fact, for some deep thinking about shifting practices, progressive school systems, and service delivery models.
The weekend has included the school’s annual craft fair, organizing some materials in the classroom, Christmas tree decorating, and then today driving to the city to shop and participate in STEMfest NL tomorrow with a colleague.
It’s a busy time of year. From mid-November to Christmas is typically stressful for everyone –children, parents, and teachers.
I was discussing self-regulation on Friday with a colleague and explaining how I have gotten better at self-regulating myself simply by learning about it in practice at school every day. Self-regulation is one of those things that once you begin to see people through the lens of self-reg, it becomes difficult to stop looking at people that way. And that includes yourself as well.
What is self-regulation? I wrote a blog post earlier this fall that explains the basic neuroscience behind it. You can read it here.
Stressors from the five domains are present in everyone’s lives: emotional, cognitive, biological, social, and prosocial. Compounded stressors cause the limbic system to become dysregulated, and we go into “fight or flight” mode. It is difficult to think or learn while our brains are in this mode. When you remove or reduce stressors, you regulate your limbic system and hence, the name: self-regulation.
Some things I’ve done these past few days to help myself self-regulate include:
- taking time to sit and have coffee rather than use the drive-thru
- reducing the amount of time I spend on social media or watching television
- reducing the amount of light in a room
- deciding to spend less on presents this Christmas and focus more on giving to charity
- hugging my child more often
Some of these things were big choices and some were small, in-the-moment ones. But they all added up to a little less stress and now I feel like I am calm and ready for what December will bring.
If you are a parent reading this blog, here’s what I want you to know:
Because I see your child through a self-reg lens, I know your child has days with little stress. They arrive at school ready to take on the world. I also know they have days with more stress. These days are harder. On all these days, I will love your child and try my best to reduce their stress so they are calm, alert, and able to learn.
Because I see you through a self-reg lens, I don’t judge you as a parent. I’m here to support you as you raise your child by helping you learn about child development and offering words of advice and encouragement. I know you have low-stress and high-stress days. Drop in for a visit or a chat on a low-stress day. Your child and I would love to see you. If you forget something like your child’s note, or money, or even their lunch on a high-stress day, I’ve got your back. I’m prepared. If you and your child have had a rough morning, let me know. I can give your child some extra love and attention.
Because I see myself through a self-reg lens, I try to self-regulate every day so I can always respond to your child with compassion, kindness, and understanding. I’m a parent, too. I treat your child the way I would like my child to be treated by every teacher she encounters.
You can learn more about self-regulation at http://www.self-reg.ca or Google Stuart Shanker or the MEHRIT centre.
Here’s hoping for a happy, calm, and self-regulating week ahead!
Dedicated teacher for the past 15 years. Lifelong learner. Newbie blogger. Follow me on Twitter @Baker1973Cathy