3 Simple Steps to Breaking A Stale Routine

You know it well…the breaking point.  You experience the same thing over and over, and still feel as though you’re running across an endless plateau.  Will I ever see the end?  Or worse, will I suddenly drop off and never ascend again?  I’ve decided to reach out and show you we’re in this together.

So what do I do when I’m stuck in a stale routine?

1) Do something different
Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  While obvious, it’s important to remember this simple fact.  Our routines become comfortable, familiar, predictable.  Many of us are creatures of habit and we like to know what to expect.  That being said, what if our expectations are too low?

Start simple.  Being teachers, I know your principals may only give you so much freedom of choice.  That being said, see how you can modify your schedule, just for a day.  Try these different ideas:

  • Add a math game, ELA game, or song to the day.
  • We just recently added Boom Cards to our centers and the kids love them! They are digital task cards that are self-checking and so fun!
  • Read more about them HERE!
  • You can also just pause and have a brainstorming session or Q&A forum with your students.  Think about a subject they’re not fully understanding.  Tell them you’re going to talk about it and see what questions they have.  I advise sitting in a circle for this as it will make for a more familiar, open, and comfortable platform.
  • If you have a class mascot, like we have with Quentin the Quality Penguin, you can pass it around and they can take turns asking questions or explaining why they don’t understand.  You may even find that one of your academically stronger students has an answer you haven’t thought of.
  • See how your students might like to add interest to the day.  You can start the morning by telling them they are in charge for the day and they will be like the teacher.  See what is feasible given your schedule and try to incorporate as many ideas as possible.
  • You may enjoy having students take turns actually being a teacher by teaching something you’ve learned in class.  Pam’s students love playing teacher and it is a fantastic learning opportunity.

2) Be Purposeful in Your Routine
Have you ever stopped in the middle of your routine after some time and just thought, “why is it that I do this?”  I was reading a book by a colleague yesterday, and it mentioned the danger of being lost in your routine.  He had certain practices throughout his day that had become stale because he was no longer intentional about them.  His heart and mind weren’t involved anymore.

It is so easy to do this with routines because our brain becomes familiar and disengages.  It’s almost like muscle memory takes over or like we’re operating through our subconscious.  There have been some days where I have gotten through the day and couldn’t tell you much of anything that happened.  Sound familiar?  So STOP.  Think about what you do and why.  Keep the practices that bring value to your day and your students’ day.  Throw out the fluff, and replace it with something more meaningful or effective.

3) Ask Someone Else
You know that teacher that seems to “have it all together?”  His or her kids are perfect, his or her room is perfect, and he or she never seems to break a sweat.  You can’t stand this teacher because you can’t imagine how they just understand everything.  They can do everything and never seem to have issues.  Forget your pride and ask this teacher for advice.

Something he or she is doing works in the classroom.  You hate it, but it’s true.  Here’s the value to asking this loathsome person for advice:

  • It will go a long way toward quelling that bitterness you have inside, and it will be great for that teacher’s confidence.  You may even develop a quality relationship.
  • That person may be struggling with something you can help with.  You never know until you ask.
  • Reaching out and being more vulnerable helps you become more approachable, thus welcoming new relationships and making people more likely to reach out to you.  We all have the same goal regardless.  We want the kids to learn.

I hope this was enlightening, helpful, and at least thought-provoking.  Subscribe to our newsletter for extra insights, exclusive value, and of course free resources!  We want to bring more of these to you and accomplish our universal goal of making education better one day at a time.

Have a great week and break through those routines!


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