How To Handle Unplanned Interruptions Smart Classroom Management

Things happen. Interruptions fall from the sky.

Events and incidents out of your control invade your well-ordered peace like the hordes of Cimbri.

A fire alarm. A student yelling outside your classroom. A schedule change. A recess downpour. Colleagues you count on drop the ball. Lost connectivity. Loud construction. Power outage. The food never arrives.

And hundreds of other possibilities. It can make you want to run crazed and screaming for the exit.

Instead, you hold it together.

But your insides roil. Your vision narrows. Your face tightens. You search your mind for a fast solution, for a ready salve to smooth the rising tide of impatience and excitability riling up your students.

You must make a decision now. Or else the wheels will come tumbling off as the rickety bridge comes into view. Ahhhhh! Hang on tight!

Being in the midst of it with 24 or 30 students staring at you and expecting you to fix everything can be overwhelming. Furthermore, your rising stress will cause you to make poor decisions.

Your present mood and disposition also transfer to your students. The more anxious and frustrated you feel, the worse they’ll behave.

So what’s the solution?

Well, here at SCM we’ve long promoted the benefits of maintaining a professional distance—from students, from the job, and from situations out of your control.

This way, by staying out of the narrow frame and backing out into a broader view of the world, you’re better able to make decisions and less prone to react emotionally when things don’t go your way.

This underscores the importance of relying on a classroom management plan, calmly following through, and beginning each day with a steady and confident mental state through morning visualization.

If you’ve never done this before or you’re new to teaching, keeping professional distance is one of the best things you can do to enjoy and prolong your career.

But it takes work. It takes daily practice. It takes discipline to work at it every day until it becomes second nature.

Over time, however, not only will it become your default personality—even if you’re normally a nervous sort outside of school—you’ll become the Dalai Lama in stressful situations.

For those who practice the discipline of never getting too invested or deep in the emotive weeds, unexpected events act as a trigger to draw back, run cooler, and breathe deeper. To become more relaxed and see the big picture.

The motivation of which goes beyond just feeling better at the end of the day. You see, allowing for mental space between you and potential stressors will result in clearer thinking. There might be chaos swirling around you, but you’ll still be a cocoon of clarity and focus.

And here’s what I’ve discovered: You’ll able to quickly choose the right path. You’ll be able to detour, get the needed information to your students, and move on without a hitch.

Yes, the unexpected will still strike at the worst possible time. But it will no longer ruin the moment, let alone your whole day. A penny on the tracks, nothing more.

Then off you go over the bridge and to the other side.

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