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Surviving the School Year: Game of Thrones Style

As a new school year approaches, it occurs to me that surviving the school year is similar to how the characters survive in the cult classic, Game of Thrones. So many similarities exist in the challenges we both face, but there are ways around these challenges.
The School Year as The Game of Thrones
So, here’s to another school year! May you survive like John Snow survived the White Walkers…except without the need for revival.

1. When you get observed by an administrator
It can be scary to be observed, but it’s not insurmountable. We face the challenge with bravery, timid at first, but awed by the wonder of children when we are doing things the right way. How do you survive? If the Game of Thrones teaches us anything, it’s that we cannot afford to spend too much time thinking about the challenge. We plan carefully and execute our plans, dodging enemy attacks (you know…that one student) as we come to them. Soon enough, the battle observation is over, and we’ve survived.
2. That one student who is the class clown.

You’ve always got that one student in your class that is always up to something. Maybe not as twisted as this fellow from The Game of Thrones, but always a jokester or defiant as all get out. How do you handle it? You handle it just like Sansa Stark. With class and careful manipulation. For more classroom management tips for oppositional defiant students, go here.
3. The long staff meetings that all teacher despise.

Sometimes staff meetings can drag on forever and ever. You can either have a negative attitude about it, or just be glad when it’s over. Or, alternatively, find that one coworker who helps you get through it all. Exchange looks across the table or the room and all is wellYou can make it through this challenge. You’ve encountered much more!
4. When the kids come down the hallway and you’re by yourself.
It feels like a thousand troops coming at you at once and you want to wield your sword like John Snow in The Game of Thrones, but you have no weaponry. Or do you? One stern look, a positive outlook, and a commanding voice is your weapon. You can get them to walk calmly down the hall. At least until backup appears.
5. No one seems to be listening in your classroom
You’re trying to teach and for some reason, you just don’t have the attention of your students. How do you proceed? Like Daenerys, you put on your teacher’s face and get their attention with some fireworks of your own. Oh, they’ll listen. They have to. No one messes with Daenerys and her dragons.
6. Winter is coming
We dread the winter just as much as they do in The Game of Thrones. Why? Because children seem to change when it gets close to breaks. There are more fights, is more attitude, and more misbehavior in anticipation of the break. How do you handle it? You get to know your “enemy” and break the ice. We all look forward to that break, after all. Do a countdown with the students. Craft activities that match the season. Then when winter break finally gets there, enjoy your break without work.
Final thoughts
Your school year can be as challenging or rewarding as you want it to be. The key is to build alliances, take comfort in close co-workers, and learn to celebrate small victories in full force just like you would if you were on The Game of Thrones.
Here’s to a great school year! I’ll see you on the other side!

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