By Hernan Bueno ’18 and Sebastian Ortega ’18
Should calm classroom be something that is done everyday? Will our life be less stressful without it? What do students and teachers have to say about it?
Luis Ramirez, junior, argues, “I think calm classroom is pointless because it’s a waste of time in our education and afterwards I still feel the same.”
Calm classroom helps students feel more engaged. According to the Calm Classroom website, “Calm Classroom has been proven to increase student engagement, improve attendance and academic performance, and decrease suspensions and behavioral referrals.” Calm classroom should get you mentally prepared to start your day and stay focused.
Furthermore, according to research other teachers use calm classroom for a different reason: “Mindfulness helps teachers better understand emotions”. For example, “from instruction to lesson planning to grading papers, there’s a lot that goes into the daily life of a teacher”.
Another fact that seems pretty interesting in the calm classroom website states, “ calm classroom and other social-emotional learning programs can help meet these new amendments to the state’s school code. Our program has reduced student discipline issues, including suspensions, and has improved the overall school climate in many of the 250+ school-wide trainings we have conducted since 2008”. On the other hand, teachers stated, “We can’t control our students’ behavior, but we can choose how we respond to it”. This quote explains how teachers have used calm classroom as a way of responding to negative behavior. Something that caught our attention was that “Illinois is currently one of only three states that have developed social-emotional learning standards for all grade levels.” The reason this caught our attention is because Illinois is one of three states in America to have self emotional learning standards.”
So from the information that we gathered we learned what calm classroom actually does which is help students and teachers stay calm, handle stress, and reduce students’ bad behavior . It also helps you stay opened minded and be ready for what is next to come.
Going back to question one, in our opinion we say if students and teachers want to feel less stressed they should probably try it out. According to the interviews that we conducted, some teachers state calm classroom is just a strategy to help students and teachers stay calm and focused throughout the day.
Teddy Schrishuhn is a junior teacher here at Pritzker known for often engaging in calm classroom exercises. However, he first engaged in guided meditation as a sophomore in college and thus continued doing so at Pritzker once he saw the many benefits. When asked for his reasoning he states, “When I’m stressed or I simply want to relax I often listen to music or some type of guided meditation.” Since he saw the first hand benefits of the activity, he found a way to include his advisory and they seem to be enjoying it just as much or even more than Schrishuhn. “The boys seem to really like it and we would do it every so often.” He contends that it has helped his advisory boys calm down after particularly stressful days.
As for his own opinion on the matter, Schrishuhn believes that calm classroom is a great way to relax or take a break from our daily routine and use of technology. “To this day it is something I do regularly and highly encourage. I think it’s important for people to take a break from electronic devices and the immediacy of current day communication habits and simple be still and breathe.”
Let’s see what some of the teachers have to say about calm classroom. Biology and physics teacher Samantha Corvino states, “We decided to do calm classroom in advisory because our advisory needs to practice relaxing and calming down at the end of the day”. She explains the purpose of calm classroom is to help students calm themselves when they are stressed or frustrated. When asked if she noticed students relaxing after calm classroom, she states, “There is absolutely a difference after calm classroom-students are more relaxed and ready for whatever comes next”.
Overall, it seems calm classroom has many benefits, the most vital being that students and teachers feel less stressed. Especially considering high school can be very stressful and students need a way to manage that stress in a positive manner. Calm classroom is not just confined to the handbook we have at school but any meditation exercises as Schrishuhn mentioned.