I’m currently living in a small town in Ukraine called Zhovti Vody as part of a long process to adopt my son. My wife and I have been living in a single hotel room for about a month and a half now and have about another month to go before we are able to return home as a family.
This post is not necessarily about my experience here, but about an observation that was made clearer to me in my current circumstances. In a place where I have little to do but wait and think, where factual information is a foreign notion, and where anything you’re told (even by the head judge of the court) can change at a moment’s notice I find myself taking comfort is small daily routines like making coffee, making the bed, even showing and shaving. When the big things in life are full of uncertainty it is refreshing that in some things, regardless of size and importance, you can have confidence and be certain of.
It then occurred to me that the same is true of students as well, especially those in the younger grades, but probably to a lesser degree to adults as well. When the content, tools, and concepts that are being taught and discussed in class are new and uncertain, students also can take comfort in procedures and routines that they can count on, even when necessary in the area of discipline. If I’m finding significance in the small daily routines of my strange existence here in Zhovti Vody, how much greater a value will regular classroom routines have for a middle school students making the transition from childhood to young adults.
Of course this idea is not news to anyone reading this, but it’s amazing to me even now in my tenth year of teaching how often I realize things that I’d already known to be true. So I thought I’d share.
What routines and procedures would bring stability to my students in a middle school computers class?
What routines and procedures would benefit adult learners just learning to integrate technology into their classrooms?