Growing up in a chaotic home environment full of uncertainty and insecurity made me crave structure in my daily life. The structure I craved was honestly a structure that I did not know I needed but deep down I desired it, if that makes sense. Still to this day, I get a thrill out of having structure and systems. Those who know me well know that while I struggle sometimes to stick to the structures I create, my love language is a well thought out and planned system. Like seriously, I find comfort, peace, and security knowing that A+B will get me C, and I can trust in this. Honestly, I know that I am not alone in finding true peace in the routine and what some may call mundane. When you grow up in an environment where you can’t control what happens next, that becomes mentally, emotionally, and physically exhaustings.
When I began my teaching journey, one thing I made sure of was that I had a clear plan in place, routines present, and structured systems that created space for my students to be socially, emotionally, and academically successful. Well before I knew anything about Social-Emotional Learning, I knew there was value in modeling for my students awareness of self through acknowledging my need for structure, self management by daily planning, and personal responsibility for how I use my time and create a routine that will allow me to operate as my highest functional self.
Not only did my students find peace and security in my semi-organizational skills, but this adult fighting childhood traumas also thrived in an environment where I finally feel like I am in control!
I had students who desired to also feel this way.
And, I desired to pass this empowering feeling on to my students, especially those who came into my classroom from some of the most vulnerable and historically rob communities I’ve served.
There is value, healing, and life transformation in creating structures in our classrooms and schools for our students. Creating structure can make a world of difference in students’ lives now and their futures.
As a teacher, we know that the classroom is a dynamic environment where everything can happen at once. One of the ways to bring a sense of order to this chaos is by establishing a daily structure for ourselves and our students. A daily structure can help us manage our time more effectively, reduce stress, and improve our well-being, while also creating a positive and productive learning environment for our students. If you struggle with creating structure or that’s just too restrictive for you, hear me out. Here are some of the ways a daily structure can benefit you and your students:
- Establishing routines
Routines are an essential part of creating a daily structure. When you establish routines for yourself and your students, you create a sense of predictability and stability in the classroom. This can help reduce anxiety and stress for both you and your students. For example, you might start each day with a morning meeting where you go over the schedule and expectations for the day. You might also establish routines for transitions between activities or for how students should ask for help.
- Prioritizing self-care
Teachers are known for putting their students’ needs ahead of their own. However, prioritizing self-care is essential for maintaining your own wellness and being an effective teacher. When you create a daily structure that includes time for exercise, mindfulness, or other self-care activities, you are better able to manage stress and stay focused throughout the day. Students can also benefit from learning about self-care strategies and practicing them in the classroom.
- Maximizing productivity
Having a daily structure can help you maximize your productivity and make the most of your time in the classroom. By establishing a schedule for lesson planning, grading, and other tasks, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed and ensure that everything gets done in a timely manner. Students also benefit from a structured learning environment that includes clear expectations for assignments and deadlines.
- Encouraging student accountability
When you establish a daily structure, you also create a sense of accountability for your students. By setting clear expectations for behavior and work, you create a framework for students to follow. This can help them take ownership of their learning and feel more invested in their success. You might also establish routines for student self-reflection or goal-setting to encourage a growth mindset.
- Creating a positive classroom culture
A daily structure can also contribute to a positive classroom culture. By establishing routines and clear expectations, you create a sense of community and belonging in the classroom. Students are more likely to feel comfortable and engaged when they know what to expect and feel confident in their ability to meet expectations. This, in turn, can lead to better student achievement and a more enjoyable learning experience for everyone.
Overall, a daily structure can benefit both teachers and students by creating a sense of order, reducing stress, and improving productivity and well-being. By establishing routines, prioritizing self-care, maximizing productivity, encouraging student accountability, and creating a positive classroom culture, we can create a learning environment that promotes student achievement and teacher wellness.