The Calm Before the Storm

I went into school today. There was a good atmosphere, everybody was relaxed and looking good after the summer holiday. However, beneath all the pleasantries, behind all those rested eyes was a palpable sense of foreboding about what is to come.

The school I work in is not unique, it is quite typical of all schools.

We all know that we will work ourselves into the ground. And we all know that our holidays are not just “breaks” but are actually necessary for our survival!

It seems to be an accepted fact that teachers, by the end of each academic year, will be frazzled, exhausted, manic people on the verge of complete collapse. Sadly, this is true of our students too. The Dalai Lama says he finds it alarming that people take pride in being able to deal with stress when, in his opinion, stress is unacceptable and avoidable. Many teachers take pride in how “crazy busy” they are and are happy to cite endless examples of how much they have done or have to do. Like the Dalai Lama, I don’t think they should be proud of this. They should be worried about how the other areas of their life are inevitably suffering as a result.  Instead of taking some twisted pleasure in our busyness, we should be looking at schools, asking how they have become this way and doing something about it.

I am going to try to offer little suggestions for how we may be able to do this with regular blog postings. This is the first one.

“Let go of the idea that gentle, relaxed people can’t be superachievers”

I love this quote from Richard Carlson’s “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”. He goes on to say:

“One of the major reasons so many of us remain hurried, frightened, and competitive, and continue to live life as if it were one giant emergency, is our fear that if we were to become more peaceful and loving, we would suddenly stop achieving our goals. You can put this fear to rest by realizing that the opposite is actually true. Fearful, frantic thinking takes an enormous amount of energy and drains the creativity and motivation from our lives.”

Think about your life as a teacher. Are you relaxed and gentle? Are you surrounded by relaxed and gentle people? Is there a relaxed and gentle atmosphere in your school? Perhaps most importantly… are your students relaxed and gentle?

Image from Krystian_O at




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