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Put The Oxygen Mask On First!

“Please turn off your phone, we are going through our safety procedures.”  I don’t know about you but I get caught on almost every plane trip I take trying to send that last text before take-off.

I’ll be honest, I rarely listen to the airline attendants as they go through the safety information, I figure the chances are much more likely that I’ll arrive safe to my destination than not.

Still, there is a valuable bit of information they always remind their passengers…”In case of an emergency, put your oxygen mask on first and then assist any children.”

Simply put, you can’t help others unless you’re in good shape yourself.

This applies to most aspects of a person’s life but none more than the life of a teacher.

Teaching is like being on a plane flight.  The route for the day has been carefully planned, all items and passengers have been accounted for, but there’s always a chance for unforeseen turbulence.

In an effort to face that turbulence it’s important to remember to put the oxygen mask on yourself first!

As teachers, situations arise in a moment notice.  Students have issues with one another, a child comes into class upset about something going on at home, an administrator sends out an untimely email asking to speak with you about your recent test scores.  The list goes on and on.

For a brief moment, the oxygen mask falls down and you have a choice to make.  Unfortunately, if you’re like most teachers, you immediately try and resolve the situation.

Once the situation is resolved, you look around to a chaotic room you ignored and you find yourself depleted of energy.  You turn to see that oxygen mask still dangling in front of you.

First step, change your habits. It’s not easier said than done because it’s actually really easy!

Second step, identify your oxygen mask. In fact, identify as many oxygen masks as possible.  My mask was always my phone cover.  It has a picture of my dog on it dressed in a tux.

Every time an issue came up, I’d take out my phone, look at that picture, and take three deep breaths.  It took less than ten seconds to do this.

The whole point of using your oxygen masks throughout the day is to ensure you’re able to handle things that unexpectedly arise in a calm manner and with a sound mind.  This not only allows you to stay present with the rest of your class but sends a positive energy out towards your students…and we know kids feed off our energy.

So before you get back to grading papers, put your oxygen mask on and think of some things that can act as masks for you in your classroom.  Pictures, quotes, a funny moment that always makes you laugh.  Whatever it is, think of something that can combat that turbulence within a few seconds so you can fly your plane to success!