Teacher feeling overwhelmed by children's classroom behaviour

emotional support for teacher teacher overwhelm article

A letter to the teacher who feels like they're just not getting anywhere with their students.


I see you every morning, pacing your classroom before school has even started.


You're reading the role of your students, and you're already worrying about whether Jack is going to have another meltdown, whether you have made enough progress with Sam, and whether Elizabeth will put her hand up during circle time AGAIN today.


Your heart is racing as you wait for the day to start. You're looking around to anyone who can help to ease your worries, and calm your nervousness.


As soon as Jack enters the room, you feel like a rabbit in a spotlight. You feel on edge, hot and sweaty, nervous, and ready to take action. You're watching Jack's every move, because last week he threw a chair at you.


You're blaming yourself for the behaviour of the children in your classroom. You feel 100% responsible for the chaos, the mess, and the noise, that is going on around you.


But please know this.


You are not 100% responsible. You are not responsible for whether Jack throws a chair at you or not. You are responsible to ensure the safety of yourself, or Jack, and of your class. But Jack's behaviour is not your fault. 


You are enough. You are compassionate. You are stronger than you think. Because if we weren't enough, you wouldn't still be standing in your classroom, putting one foot in front of the other, trying to give your children the education that they deserve. If you weren't compassionate, you wouldn't care about the progress of your students. You wouldn't be going home at night and putting in hours of research and planning, to give your children the best chance of achieving their potential.


You are stronger than you think. You can do this!


How do I know this? Because I used to be a child like Jack. I used to take out most of my frustration, on the teachers that I trusted the most.


What did I need from my teacher?


Consistency, compassion, care, and connection.


What are you giving Jack every day without even realising it? Consistency, compassion, care, and connection.


So tomorrow, when Jack enters your classroom. Give him a high 5. Ask him about how his morning was and whether he noticed the bird up in the tallest tree, or the ladybug that you found in the garden. Connect with Jack. Smile with Jack.


Because both you, and Jack, are feeling just as nervous, and just as overwhelmed as each other.


Both you, and Jack, need to believe that you are enough. You and Jack both need to remind each other, that you're working as a team in your classroom, and that you are there to support each other.


Just like you would like someone to tell you that "you're ok", and "I'm here for you". Jack needs to hear those words too.


Please know that I believe in you. I believe that you are enough. 

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