Friday was our PD Day, and we started the day with an activity where we used Yammer to share our thinking on some questions about inquiry. As the activity ended, some people were still finishing their final contributions to post to the Yammer group. Our principal, Gerry, has notifications on his phone and others have them enabled on their iPad. Each time that a post came through, a beep sounded. Then people around me had their phones set to vibrate, so each text message and/or call led to a buzz. The library was like a cacophony of beeps and buzzes, and coupled with the bright overhead lights and crowded tables, I was going crazy. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t hear anything besides cell phones and iPads. I was about to present to the staff, and I had no idea how I was going to do so. On Friday, I thought of our Self-Regulation Foundations Course, and what invisible stressors could be. I was experiencing some (i.e. these noises, lights, and crowded places) in the midst of this PD Day session.
Thank goodness for self-regulation. I took a few deep breaths because they help me calm down. I even closed by eyes for a moment and focused back on our learning for the day. And then I saw that my principal had pulled up my presentation and turned down the lights around the room. He asked if that was okay. Okay?! I told him that I loved the calmer lighting, and if he could eliminate the cell phone and iPad beeps and buzzes, that would be even better. 🙂
I made it through my presentation on Friday and through the PD Day sessions, which I loved. Many people may not have known that I was dysregulated. I’m an adult, and one with a growing understanding of self-regulation, so I handled the problem relatively quietly. But what if this was a student in your class or a child in your home? How would he/she respond? Would we see his/her response as behaviour or would we look for the possible stressors?
It wasn’t until I was looking around the library on Friday that I realized that what was bothering me had almost no impact on anyone else. Maybe I’m like that one child that acts out in the classroom, and maybe it’s not to get attention or cause problems, but because of a stressor that is oh so prevalent to me … and only me. Friday reminded me again of the “self” in self-regulation and just how different we can all be. How are we addressing these differences in our homes and schools? How are we creating environments where everyone can feel “calm?”