This morning, on the way to school I had my phone on vibrate. I didn't hear the buzz of two texts and one phone call, but when I stopped at a red light, I grabbed my phone (bad habit...I know) and saw the alerts. Uh-oh I knew immediately there was a problem at AFDS! Yep, a power outage was the culprit. So I called from two blocks away and told them I was almost there. That's not normally how my morning starts, but its part of my crazy job and I have learned to deal with crazy things that happen. Remaining calm in stressful situations is key in this job and actually in life in general. Things I've learned to do to help remain cool and collected:
1) Breathe - Over the summer I went to a pre-k conference and sat in on a workshop about Conscious Discipline and the research that Dr. Becky Bailey has done. Just a small snippet is about breathing and she teaches some interesting kid-friendly techniques. I've always tried to take the time to step back and take a breath. It really does help.
2) Be Directive - During those crazy days, you have to realize you can't do it all. You have to direct others to help. Delegate and be direct about it. Example..."I need you to call his mom and tell her to come get him because he is throwing up" "I need you to get the cat litter from the janitor's closet". "I need you to look up the website for the electric company" Etc Etc Etc
3) Never raise your voice - Screaming only magnifies the chaos. You have to keep your voice low and calm. It works!
4) Laugh - After the craziness is over, you just have to laugh. Last week I had a administrator's meeting and I hired one of my former teachers to come in and fill in for me. After the meeting was over she sent me a text and said, "A few minor issues...but everyone is alive lol" I had no idea what those "few minor issues" were! I later found out that they were a horrible pulsating bloody nose, explosive diarrhea, a biter, and a major fit was thrown which left a teacher almost in tears. All in a days work! After learning this, I stopped at Sonic and bought a Dr Pepper for the crying teacher and made my way back to the school. By the time I got there, it was nap and all was calm and they were laughing! Looking back it was comical that all those things happened within a two hour meeting. Laughter is truly the best medicine.
Whether you are a director, a teacher, or a parent...you will have days like this. Keep your cool. This too shall pass.
Our tag line around here is ...There's Never a Dull Moment in Pre-K!