Ever notice how the vibe in a classroom can feel like an invisible force? Whether it’s the calm of a productive classroom, the bustling energy of collaboration, or a sense of chaos and loss of control, the atmosphere sets the stage for the experience. Reflecting on my time as a teacher and school leader, I came to a realisation – while my students may bring their individual instruments to the symphony of the classroom, it’s me as the maestro, who wields the baton. And that baton – my emotional state.
It was MY emotions that had the greatest influence over the harmonies and rhythms of my classroom symphony.
I don’t know about you, but on days when I was bursting with positive energy, my students would often mirror my emotional state. The positive vibes would become contagious, and learning became a fun, collaborative adventure. When I was composed and used my voice and body language to exude a sense of calm and control, kids who were agitated would regulate more easily in my presence. But on the flip side, on the days where I was stressed or frazzled, that energy would permeate the room, and learning just didn’t flow as easily.
As teachers, whether we like it or not, we must recognise that our emotional state is contagious. It can set the tone for the entire learning experience. When we radiate positivity, it becomes an invitation for students to engage and participate. On the contrary, if we let stress or frustration take the lead, it can create an environment that feels tense and less conducive to learning.
The impact of our emotional state extends beyond just the immediate vibe. It influences how students perceive the subject matter, the classroom, each other, and even their own abilities. Positive emotions enhance creativity, critical thinking, and overall cognitive function. When students feel the positive energy, they’re more likely to approach challenges with resilience and curiosity.
Now, the beauty of this emotional orchestra is that we don’t need to be in a perpetual state of positivity. It’s about being real and authentic. Acknowledge the challenges, calmly address unacceptable behaviours, reflect together when things aren’t working right, and the music’s off key. Your ability to navigate through highs and lows with composure sends a powerful message to your students – it’s okay not to be perfect, it’s all part of learning and growing as a human. The composition may not be flawless, but we are still making music together.
So, as you step into the classroom each day, remember that you wield an incredible power – the power to shape the vibe through your emotional state. Take a second – check-in with yourself – start with positive language and expectations and notice how this simple intentional act impacts the young people around you.
In the orchestra of education, your emotional state can be the unseen maestro shaping the classroom vibe. By acknowledging this connection and making intentional efforts to foster a positive emotional environment, you wield a powerful tool for creating a classroom where learning thrives.
Let the show begin!