How to avoid exhaustion / going crazy near end of the day?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by CajunNewJersey, May 31, 2014.

  1. CajunNewJersey

    CajunNewJersey Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 31, 2014

    Hello fellow teachers / aspiring ones,

    I've been a fourth grade teacher for two and a half years now. While my first year was rough, my second year was much better. This year behavior has been excellent. I attribute this to constant contact with parents as well as exercising soft teacher power instead of always the harshest possible. If that doesn't make sense, excuse me. That's not the point of this thread. heh

    Anyway, I teach from 8:00 to 3:45. My problem is that as the hotter the weather gets (we have no AC, just a fan), and the later it gets before 3:45, the more irrational I get in my judgments. That's the blunt of the problem. For example, for the past two days I made some boner decisions that I had to backtrack it. And since classroom management is partly about students feeling the teacher knows what she or he's doing, all this is a problem.

    My knee jerk reaction would be apologize and get over with it. But that won't fix the big problem. Besides having them read / do homework for the last twenty minutes when the weather is hot because Mr. "X" is having his spells again, what do you do to combat this kind of problem? (tldr; How do teachers combat moments where they can't think at all due to heat / long day, which causes dumb decisions you normally don't do).

    Respectfully,
     
  2.  
  3. ScienceEd

    ScienceEd Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2014
    Messages:
    237
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 31, 2014

    drink more water because you are probably dehydrated and that will help....

    then when asked a question, answer with "what do you think?"

    that allows the student to think of a response and you to decide if you agree or disagree with their reasoning.

    perhaps preplan that last hour ahead of time to eliminate the need for too much thinking at the end of the day?

    get some fans for the classroom
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    6,741
    Likes Received:
    1,696

    May 31, 2014

    Would it help to have a small protein snack near the end of the day? Perhaps your blood sugar is fluctuating?
     
  5. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2004
    Messages:
    3,756
    Likes Received:
    323

    May 31, 2014

    No A/C in New Orleans? That is crazy.

    First of all, if it is only the last twenty minutes or so, I see nothing wrong with them reading or doing homework. Also, you could have several easy centers they rotate through (example-computers, math game, spelling practice), and perhaps you are just monitoring or your center is remediation or enrichment with a small group.

    I agree to stay hydrated.

    Hope school is out soon!
     
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,959
    Likes Received:
    1,149

    May 31, 2014

    I also think it's probably nutrition, or at least that's part of it. Make sure you eat healthy while you're at school, take an additional salad, fruit or protein bars to eat at the end the day, maybe at 2 pm? And drink lots of water.
    When my blood sugar goes down, I feel disoriented, depressed, irritated and can't make decisions. I won't make bad decisions, I just can't make them at all. It took me a long time to realize this was the problem, so now it never gets to be too bad.

    What do you eat all day?
     
  7. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

    Joined:
    May 1, 2010
    Messages:
    807
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 31, 2014

    That's what I was thinking! We went to New Orleans on vacation - the humidity hung like a blanket - it was miserable. OP, is it broken or is there no A/C period? I wouldn't tolerate it too well. Heat's hard on this fat girl! :lol:
     
  8. CajunNewJersey

    CajunNewJersey Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 31, 2014

    Hey folks,

    Thanks for the kind suggestions. Your posts are bringing out some insightful observations.

    I suppose I should clarify something. I teach in New Jersey, not New Orleans! I made this account when I was living in New Orleans however. As for nutrition... I have to confess, it's very little. Very often I would eat very little until I have a very big dinner after work. I typically drink diet coke all day. Maybe that's my stubbornness kicking in again and me not willing to acknowledge I'm getting older. I'll experiment around for the last four weeks and record the results.

    I should also probably make a reminder myself to just stop if I can't make rational decisions. In addition, the "what do you think" idea is wonderful.

    I'll update you later on this matter. Thanks to everyone who posted. :)
     
  9. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,644
    Likes Received:
    108

    Jun 6, 2014

    I'm from New Jersey too :) I do better when I drink a lot of coffee (I learned how to use our coffee maker to make espresso shots :D) but in-between coffee I drink a lot of water (I aim for 1:1). Soda is not healthy for you at all, so perhaps you could switch to coffee/tea instead if you need the caffeine. Keep a cooler with ice packs inside of it to keep your drink cold to help cool you down too. Also, for myself I get a piece of fruit from our lunch room to eat around 2 or 3 pm since my blood sugar drops and I feel awful which can effect how I react to things.

    Can you bring in fans to help blow air around? (At my other apartment, I would put bowls of ice in front of a fan and it does help a bit.)

    I also choose lessons for the afternoon that require the students to work independently to complete a task or work in small groups with less guidance from myself. If I don't have to worry about focusing on a whole class, but can quietly monitor each group/work in small groups with my students, it stresses me out less.

    And lastly, every year I grow more patient. I learn how to stop and think about my decision before reacting. But I just finished my 6th year of teaching and I'm still not perfect. If you can try to give yourself 5-10 seconds to think about what should be done- and I will literally tell my students "Please give me a moment to think about that."- you tend to react less and think better. :)
     
  10. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,150
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 8, 2014

    I can't believe there are still schools without air in this day and age! I know our parents and grandparents dealt with it, but kids and adults these days are acclimated to air conditioning at home and at stores, so going to school without it seems barbaric.

    Anyway, everyone made great suggestions. My thoughts:

    1. Are you getting enough sleep at night? I find that when I'm not extremely well rested, my tolerance for difficult situations (parents, lack of air conditioner, etc) goes way down.

    2. What are you wearing to work? In HS I had an English teacher that always had HUGE pit stains by second period and I always used to wonder why he wore a tie, long sleeved shirt, long pants and closed in shoes. Do you have the option to wear kkhaki shorts and a thin, cotton polo shirt, maybe some nice sandals?

    3. Would it be worth it to invest in a small, personal air conditioner (honestly I haven't looked into this, but just as they have small, inexpensive space heaters, do small, inexpensive air conditioners exist?)

    4. I hate giving advice to not do your job, but if you've tried all the suggestions and are still feeling badly, then I would consider "light" afternoons and stopping all intensive instruction. Having the kids work independently (and quietly) at their seats would be good. Not sure what age group you have, but you could either do a read-a-loud on the carpet or read a chapter from a book while everyone sits at their desks and listens (my 7th grade teacher used to do that. So did my 10th grade)
     
  11. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    2,096
    Likes Received:
    2

    Jun 8, 2014

    You definitely need to drink more water during the day. I get bad headaches in my classroom this time of year- because of the heat, but I've been a lot better about staying hydrated this year and it does help. I put those all natural lemon flavors in my water to help me drink it because I don't typically drink much. Also, I would definitely plan some more relaxing student centered thing for the end of the day. My students are working on a research project now independently at the end of the day. I will sit and conference with one or two students at a time to assist them with their research- usually from a comfy beanbag chair!
     
  12. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    Messages:
    318
    Likes Received:
    10

    Jun 8, 2014

    There is a lot of good advice here already, but I wanted to say that I completely agree about nutrition! I went through something similar, and low blood sugar makes teaching (or doing anything, really) virtually impossible. An easy test to check if it's low blood sugar is to have something high in real sugar like candy or orange juice, and see if you suddenly feel normal again.

    The diet soda is only good for caffeine, and if you're not eating anything while getting constant caffeine boosts, your body is going to get tired out before long. Coffee or tea (with no artificial sweeteners) is a better choice, but you still need food. Eating something with protein or healthy fats, like nuts or a cheese stick, is a good convenient snack to have if you get tired, that will give you longer lasting energy. You may also want to have a bigger lunch with enough protein, like a good portion of chicken, fish, cheese, nuts, etc. to carry you through the day.
     
  13. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2014
    Messages:
    293
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 9, 2014

    Go outside with students and have them do assignments that require them to sit down and reflect on nature...i work at an inner city school so it's just sky scrapers but it still gives me a tiny break, and they are still working and even more engaged.
     
  14. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Messages:
    4,466
    Likes Received:
    1,492

    Jun 9, 2014

    No matter how busy I am at work, I always carve out 15 minutes to eat lunch. Granted, I normally at 10:30 (before the first crop of kids kids go to lunch), but I'm satisfied until 3:00 (when I can finally sit at my desk and nibble on nuts or trail mix).

    Oh, and I have a decent breakfast, too. Nothing too filling--usually just yogurt and a banana.
     
  15. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,188
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 10, 2014

    I totally agree about hydration and nutrition. It makes such a difference to me. Obviously, the proper clothing is important but I would also like to mention shoes. I am on my feet all day, and the proper shoes that keep my feet comfortable and aren't too hot are vital. If my feet are hot, I am hot.

    I also have a tower fan, that is safe and quiet, which moves the air around. My air conditioning isn't powerful enough with all the bodies in the room on hot days. It makes a big difference. I paid for it, but if it keeps it bearable, it was worth it.
     
  16. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    Messages:
    213
    Likes Received:
    27

    Jun 10, 2014

    I can totally relate to the whole nutrition thing. For years I didn't really eat breakfast and then I wondered why I was so exhausted and moody in the morning. This year I have four HS classes in a row--all in the morning--so I forced myself to eat breakfast everyday. I was shocked at how much it helped--even though I, intellectually, knew it probably would. I was just in a non-breakfast habit. I eat just a small bowl of cereal with almond milk and that is enough to make a difference. I also recommend limiting alcohol the night before (even though I can't seem to follow that advice very well lol). Lastly--SLEEP as close to 8 hours a night as you can.
    I can also relate to the AC issue. I also teach in NJ, and we have AC but it is broken 90% of the time in my room (when the AC got put in the construction company put in the wrong sized unit for the building and my room is at the end of the line :dizzy:). I drink a HUGE (48 oz) Nalgene bottle of water every day and sometimes Ill refill it before the end of the day. Hydration is REALLY important. Good luck!
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 215 (members: 1, guests: 198, robots: 16)
test