We were back at it yesterday after almost two weeks off.
Back in a routine. Classes in. Classes out.
I decided yesterday that we were going to ease back into library stuff. Read a book. Have some fun. The growth mindset lessons that I normally teach could wait a week while we all settled in.
I have a second-grade student whom I adore. She can go from giving the class a pep talk one minute to pouting and sulking the next. You know, typical second-grade behavior.
Yesterday she got into it a little with a couple of girls while working on an activity. Nothing big. But her teacher’s assistant told me that they were trying to nip the behavior in the bud and sent her to a “calm down” area. Sort of like a time out with little things to help take your mind off of what was bugging you to begin with.
As the class was beginning to leave, I walked over to see how she was doing. This is what I heard:
“It doesn’t matter how many times you push me down. I’m still gonna get up. Nobody can take my happiness.”
Positive self-talk. At eight years old.
I preach this all the time. Talking to yourself the way you would talk to anybody else. Best friend? Yes. Child? Yes. Colleague? Yes. Even a stranger.
We say things to ourselves that we would never ever say to another human being.
Positive self-talk. The idea is solid but the execution can be hard. Sometimes rounding up your thoughts is like herding cats. You just get one wrangled when another pops out.
It’s hard to see how far you’ve come and where you are going when you are in the fog of stuff. And sometimes, it’s harder to put it all into words.
Being mindful. Noticing when you have negative thoughts (because we all know they can be sneaky buggers) and putting a hard stop on them is key. Like becoming good at anything, it takes lots and lots of practice.
And maybe a calm down area is a good idea for us all. A place where you can just sit and focus on the good that you have done and will do. To just sit with that for a bit.
That’s what my kiddo did. I would love to say that all of my lessons had something to do with it but I’m reasonably sure she got that strategy from home. It just came so naturally to her. It had to be something that was practiced and reinforced.
My first principal told me “Some days you learn more than you teach.” Yesterday was one of those days.
Today, be like C. If things aren’t going your way, take a break. Stop those negative thoughts cold and replace them with positive thoughts. Out loud or in quiet. It doesn’t matter. Knocked down? Get back up. And never, ever let anyone else take your happiness.