I’m having my bathroom renovated. As I type this two gentlemen are demolishing the contents of my bathroom, and jackhammering tiles off the floor. My anxiety is through the roof. Not because I’m worried about the work they’re doing, or the mess, or that the cat is freaking out. It’s because I hate having people in the house. I hate having my routine out of whack. I can’t concentrate. I haven’t done anything productive all day.
We often see this with our students. We say, ‘it must be a full moon’ or ‘it’s a windy day, it sets them off’. It’s a generalised anxiety, a rattiness, that manifests for no good reason. Or they come to us having fought with their parents, or their dog’s just died, or they’re excited about their birthday. They’re buzzing, and we ask them to sit in their seat and take a test, or complete a worksheet.
In the past I would be beside myself with guilt. I would be berating myself for not being the sort of person who goes with the flow, who takes change, and noise, and mess in their stride. Who’s social anxiety isn’t triggered by having people in the house. OK, a little of me is still doing that. But, the older I get the more I realise that it’s very, very rare that a single day will make or break you. And this goes for the kids in our lives too.
We’re often fearful that the days when kids aren’t on top of it, aren’t on track, aren’t their best, are days they’re going to miss out, or be left behind. But that is very rarely the case. Learning in particular is a cumulative process. If we’re developing life-long learners we’re developing people who add to their store of knowledge, and re-evaluate that knowledge, all the time. A windy day won’t derail that.
As for me? Well hopefully the demolition will be done today, and tomorrow will be a more peaceful, more productive one. Hopefully.