Opinion Blog

Classroom Q&A

With Larry Ferlazzo

In this EdWeek blog, an experiment in knowledge-gathering, Ferlazzo will address readers’ questions on classroom management, ELL instruction, lesson planning, and other issues facing teachers. Send your questions to lferlazzo@epe.org. Read more from this blog.

Teaching Profession Opinion

How Teachers Get Beyond Tough Days in the Classroom

By Larry Ferlazzo — October 22, 2023 2 min read
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We’ve all had tough days in the classroom, and it’s critical that we all get through them so we can come to school the next day in a positive frame of mind.

How can we make that happen?

My response, based on over 21 years in the classroom, is knowing that it always gets better if I just try to do my best the next day.

Here are other responses from teachers on Twitter and Facebook:

There have been worse days...Or I put on a meditation app to reset
Your success rate of making it through the toughest of teaching days is 100%.
It is what it is and it’s done; tomorrow is another day.
I won’t even remember this in July.
(L.I.G) Let it Go
This is a bad day, and those days do happen, this is not the entire school year.
You never have to do today again.
You’re making a difference, even if you can’t always see it.
It will end -- Sometimes I need to remind myself that it’s all temporary - good or bad - it will end.
Tomorrow is a brand new day.
I keep old letters from students to read for 10 mins before going home on such a day.
Remember, you are planting seeds.
Tomorrow will be better! (I normally also follow up with some ice cream!)
I say, 'sometimes failure is the best teacher, even though it is a stern teacher.' And also I’m going to tell my students this tomorrow.
FDR's words, 'A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.'
'Kam kam, ruz beh ruz.' Little by little, day by day. (Translated from Farsi)
It’s hard to talk and teach about resilience without having to practice ourselves; a new day is coming.
Today is only I failure if I don’t learn from it.
I remind myself of the power of 'yet' and the gift of tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone who contributed their thoughts!

This is the first post in a two-part series.

The new question-of-the-week is:

You’re a teacher and you’ve had a very tough day in the classroom. In one sentence (not a run-on), what do you say to yourself and/or do to get beyond it and back into a positive frame of mind for next day?

Consider contributing a question to be answered in a future post. You can send one to me at lferlazzo@epe.org. When you send it in, let me know if I can use your real name if it’s selected or if you’d prefer remaining anonymous and have a pseudonym in mind.

You can also contact me on Twitter at @Larryferlazzo.

Education Week has published a collection of posts from this blog, along with new material, in an e-book form. It’s titled Classroom Management Q&As: Expert Strategies for Teaching.

Just a reminder; you can subscribe and receive updates from this blog via email (The RSS feed for this blog, and for all Ed Week articles, has been changed by the new redesign—new ones are not yet available). And if you missed any of the highlights from the first 11 years of this blog, you can see a categorized list below.

I am also creating a Twitter list including all contributors to this column.

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The opinions expressed in Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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