This teacher needs a time out.

Today I put myself on time out.

Being stressed out on my way to work did not help my outlook when it came to dealing with the intricate and sometimes absurd behaviours in my class. I told my Educational Assistant half an hour into the school day that I was having a rough day and would need her support. She promised to do as much as she could.

With her help, our morning went well and I thought I was over the hump until…

This afternoon I returned to the idea of social media, digital citizenship and safety. This was not our first kick at the technology can, but reviewing wouldn’t hurt.   As a class we identified a number of social medias and their benefits and dangers. We came up with some guidelines for safe use as a class. We then talked of blogs and the criteria for a good blog. We looked at a few examples and came up with our blog criteria. I then asked the kids to write their own baby blogs (maximum three paragraphs) and reminded them to use our criteria as a guideline. 

It was like I had seven heads. The kids looked at me. “I don’t get it,” was repeated six times. WHAT?

We had just spent an hour discussing how to do this. Where was the disconnect? Usually I can tell when the students aren’t ready to move on, but apparently my mood was throwing off my perception. I realized after I reminded them that we had just discussed this and that they had answered confidently, that I was not going to react well if one more person commented negatively on this assignment.

The EA was in the room (thank goodness) and I stood up and marched over to the door. I paused long enough to very quietly say, “I need a time-out.” I closed the door with slightly more enthusiasm than intended and went for a time out. My teaching colleague came out to see what was going on. “I’m on a time-out,” I told him with a loud voice. He left me alone.

After a few minutes, I had calmed down. I returned to class and we got our work done. The kids were thrilled that I took a self time-out, just as I would have expected of them.

I will have to tackle the blog concept again this week.

Maybe when I am in a better head space.


13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. George Couros
    Oct 13, 2010 @ 19:39:55

    It is all part of human nature. I took a time out for about a month after Kobe passed. Physically I was there but my head wasn’t. It is important that we recognize it when we do as, our students, or anyone, should never have to deal with “our” bad days. Good on you for your honesty and understanding of when to take a moment.


  2. missateaches
    Oct 13, 2010 @ 19:47:11

    Thanks George. I like to model behaviours I expect from the kids, for the kids. I don’t like to feel so frustrated. Oh well, early to bed tonight and up and at it tomorrow!


  3. alford300
    Oct 13, 2010 @ 19:47:17

    We all have those days! I commend you for leaving the room so you could calm down. That shows you are an excellent teacher. I also like the fact that you are trying to figure out what went wrong. Too often teachers will blame the kids and no try it again! I am so glad you will be getting back on the blogging horse. It is hectic those first few times! It has taken my third graders a month to get used to all the steps…so hang in there!


  4. missateaches
    Oct 13, 2010 @ 20:38:36

    That was probably the biggest frustration: how is it possible that we went from confident to confused with one direction? Obviously, my phrasing/timing/question was wrong. Thanks for the encouragement alford300! I will keep on trying!!!


  5. Katie Hellerman
    Oct 13, 2010 @ 21:13:20

    Good for you! You set a great example for your students. No one always has perfect days. You showed them a great way to handle a bad day. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them asks for a time-out in the near future.
    In any case, hope tomorrow is better!


  6. missateaches
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 07:08:36

    Hi Katie,
    It is interesting that you said I had set a good example for them. My class has students with severe behaviour issues, particularly aggression and time-outs, both self imposed and teacher imposed are a regular occurence. Really, they set the good example for me, although I may have reinforced the ideal! Still, it was a bad day, emphasis on the was! Thanks for the encouragement!


  7. Carolyn Jensen
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 10:04:21

    You did a good thing on all kinds of levels. It was good for you to clear your head and set an example for your students. It was good for your relationship with your EA and teaching colleague to reinforce the ebb and flow of team as needed. It was good for your students because you didn’t get frustrated with them and hurt their feelings as well as you demonstrated that adults too experience anger but there are appropriate ways to manage them. And in a bigger picture you’ve blogged your experience to cause others to think about their own practice. It’s all good! Thanks.


  8. missateaches
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 15:43:16

    Thanks Carolyn! It actually helped the kids understand the point of blogging…reflection is key! They got it today and found it awesome that I could laugh a little at myself.


  9. Becky
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 18:19:28

    Hey Melissa!

    I say ditto to all the comments above – I had a particularly rough class one time and I should have taken a time “out” – instead I just quit teaching and sat at my desk. Really, it was not my best moment!

    That being said – I want to explore the idea that you brought up above about the “disconnect” with your kids and their blogging assignment. I think that perhaps there are some things that we could brainstorm and talk about before you tackle it again. I’m particularly interested in this new “digital literacy” and have done some research on it. Email me!


  10. missateaches
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 20:08:22

    Cool Becky. I will definitely be in touch!


  11. Jacqui
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 09:34:07

    I have to echo many of the comments from other visitors to your blog. I wanted to introduce another concept that you may not have considered. As a senior HR professional, for me what you demonstrated was emotional intelligence; the ability to recognize self awareness of your own actions and how they might impact others. Empathy is a key strength. We hear many stories in the media of senseless acts because of a lack of that emotional awareness and control. This is also reflected in the workplace. A teachers ability to demonstrate that quality can make a significant impact on that social empathy. So I would encourage you to explore the work done by Daniel Goleman. Here is a website that talks about the theory

    Who knew teaching kids how to be computer literate could be so rich with learnings? 🙂


  12. Norm
    Oct 28, 2010 @ 21:13:57

    We have all had those kinds of days! Hey – i would be happy to come to BB and give my “Internet Safety/Digital Citizenship” presentation to your kids. Just let me know which afternoon would work for you and I will try to put you in my sked!


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