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.