Saturday, September 10, 2016

Celebrating Routines {9.10.16}

Routines are a good thing.

I think that deep down inside, we all crave a predictable routine. A knowing what-comes-next can help us feel safe, calm and content. It frees our minds up to be able to focus on other things.

When we don't have a routine, we can feel unsettled. Sometimes, I feel shaky and unable to focus.

For me, the beginning of the school year can be a bit unsettling because my mind naturally wants to find our daily routine. When I find it, I feel like I have so much more ability to notice the bigger picture instead of the smaller what-comes-next steps.

The lack of a daily routine can affect our students too. The long days of summer, full of freedom and without a daily schedule, can wreak havoc. When they return to the classroom, they also are searching for the familiar feeling of the classroom routine. They feel safe there. Routines also give them a sense of control and a predictability that they may not have otherwise.

My son called the other day from college. He had just sat through his first college class - Trigonometry - and called to report that he thought it was going to kill him. He felt overloaded by his class load (even though he had been through one class), his extracurricular responsibilities (marching band), and getting used to living away from home with strangers.

He was unhappy.

I let him talk, then tried to assure him that the reason he felt this way was because he was craving a predictable routine that he had not yet found. "Give it a week or so," I told him. "You'll feel better soon. You just need to know what's going on."

I talked to him yesterday. His voice was much lighter. He cracked a few jokes and complained about the 5:30 am call time he had for today's football game. He told me he'd FaceTime with us on Sunday and that he had to go meet his roommates for dinner.

I nodded to myself, recognizing that he was starting to find his routine.

We are finding our routine in our classroom as well. Next week's lesson plans have us diving into our full curriculum. I can finally put our daily schedule on the board with confidence that we will be able to actually follow it.

Routines can make us all feel better. I'm starting to find mine and I hope you are on your way to finding yours.

For this, I celebrate.


  1. Isn't it funny how we naturally crave routine! I, too, see this in my students, especially those who come from homes where routine isn't even the picture. Those students tend to bubble up, and it is so much fun to see. Have a great weekend!

    1. Glad to see college life is finding its routine too! But trigonometry...yuk! You're doing a great job, mom!

  2. He was unhappy- setting those words apart really gave them impact, and to echo Leigh Anne, shows what a good job you are doing as a mom, to let him talk and offer a few words, trusting that he is finding his way. For you and for him glad these words- his voice was much lighter- were part of this writing, too. Enjoy those calls!

  3. I completely agree. We all need routine! I'm so glad Ryan is discovering his routine at college. Hooray! I'm glad you're finding your routine too. Me too!

  4. My son was in his college marching band too, and it takes a lot of time, plus physical challenges. I'm glad that your son is already easing into his new routine. What you've written touches me because since retiring, I have struggled with the "what" and "when". The bookstore volunteering has helped me because it is a time I can count on. The other days are filling up, exercise at the gym, etc., but it has taken a while! Thanks for your wise words, Jennifer.

  5. funny how teachers- me included can't wait for summer break and what it brings... slower, less routine days. Funnier yet, how by August we are all ready for routine to begin again. Enjoyed your post.

  6. I am very much a person who needs routine, so I totally get your son's concerns that first day. College takes some getting used to, those routines are often slow to come - and they are almost 100% dependent upon you. A big step for us all, right?

  7. Glad your son is finding his routine. I crave routine and structure so I can appreciate your post. I'm still trying to get control of mine and probably by the time I get into the swing of things somethings will rock the boat! Oh well!

  8. Yes, Jennifer, routines are what organize us and provide us with a foundation. I am so glad that you were able to help your son sort out his out of his element issues. Your advice is sound. Soon we will all fall into a routine that will transition us into fall.


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