Support Teachers in Refocusing and Re-energizing

In his book “The theory U”, Otto Shammer discusses the importance of how people feel and what is there mood for a successful decision. Shammer finds that decisions made by people prove to be more successful when people feel safe and free to express their gifts because individuals can better assess the situation and respond to it.

In the light of such theory and practice, I suggest 3 centering activities and rituals to help teachers regain energy and focus.The second routine is related to maintaining a positive perspective and looking at all challenges as learning and teaching opportunities (which we all understand in theory, yet it is hard to practice).

The ritual has two stages, and requires a journal. The first stage is answering the following 3 questions, without giving it a very serious thought. The second part is reading the answers the next day.

  • What are 3 things that were awesome today?
  • What is one challenge I am facing today?
  • How can I use this challenge as a learning/teaching opportunity?

The transformational power of this ritual comes from a) regular practice and b) not thinking too deep, but allowing thoughts to flow on a regular basis, thus tapping into the hidden resources of the brain.

Help Students Discover Their Values

Adapted from transformational coaching, this value elicitation activity helps students discover what really matters for them. This provides a process for:

  • gaining clarity in decision making
  • understanding when and where to invest one’s energy
  • beginning to reveal the compass – those core values that show the North

In Middle School, have students set up a tale and character presented with several challenges and decisions to make. The activity provides a setting and loose frame for the journey of the character. Once students reflect on what was important for them in making those choices – a list of values is provided – they complete these in a personal constitution.

[Download the worksheet here!]

Empower Students with Positive Habits

Have students reflect on this video. After watching the video, divide students into two groups – one comes up with all the excuses why the boys won’t make it and one with as many solutions for why they can. Finally, the class reflects on what are the outcomes of both approaches.

  • What actions and choices come with looking for excuses? Solutions?
  • Who do you become as a person based on both approaches?
  • What is the worst and the best that can happen when people a) only look for excuses or b) only look for solutions?

Every time a student is getting into an excuse mode, it is a good time to refer to this habit and ask the student to think of solutions and resources. What is the first, smallest step you can do towards a solution? Teachers can use a poster with 4 questions and ask students to turn these into actions every time they start a project or are stuck. The questions are:

  • What is my goal?
  • What is the benefit for me? (reflecting on the learning outcome)
  • Where can I get support?
  • What is the first step and when will I do it?

In addition to these questions, students’ think of the questions that guide their work/learning in various situations.

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