There are a number of students in my GCSE class that have behavioural issues and if they feel uncomfortable they can do anything from storm out of the classroom to throwing chairs and punching their tables. They’re great kids, they just dont always see the light at the end of the tunnel and when they are in stressful situations they dont know what to do other than lash out sometimes. They are 10 months away from their final exams and the pressure is being mounted on them in every aspect of their school lives.
Last week one of the students saw me making little origami stars. Its something I do when I’m feeling anxious to help me focus on something else. He asked if I could show him how to make them. He had been clenching his fists all lesson, which I’ve noticed is a tell that he is struggling to retain composure. I gave him a strip of paper and talked it through with him. Soon half of the class were asking me to show them. They all picked it up really quickly.
After about five minutes and about 8 stars later, the student sat back down and was in a much calmer and motivated mood for the rest of the lesson. Our next lesson I placed a box of paper strips on my desk and when I saw anyone getting worked up about their work I silently placed a strip in front of them and let them get on with it. The lesson after I was amazed to see that students would go up to the box of their own accord, pick up a few strips and head back to their desks to continue working after calming down.
Yesterday I brought a large jar into the classroom and placed my anxiety stars in there. The boys put their strsss stars in there too. When they fill the jar I’m going to bring sweets into the lesson to celebrate them working hard and working through their problems in a positive manner. I know I’m not the teacher they deserve just yet but I feel like I’ve made a big breakthrough with them.