Teach Tip Tuesday: Pace your patience

Patience is something that I have a lot of but sometimes having too much patience or tolerance can have the opposite effect that you are aiming to achieve and can stop you from keeping cool, calm and collected.

For this particular Teach Tip Tuesday when referring to patience I’m mainly referring to the patience that we show students in their behaviours and their ability to meet our expectations.


Patience in regard to students learning should be adhered to where possible but I suppose even in this instance a little shove in the right direction can always help.

We all know the type of class that try our patience, they push the boundaries that we set. In a particular lesson they might come in and be chatty so you patiently wait for their attention. Those 5 pointy students then start to make minor disruptions and you selectively ignore their behaviours. You continue with your lesson, the disruptions increase and you try proximity and a range of strategies before they get a verbal warning. By this time your nearly at the end of your patience or tolerance for their behaviour. The next warning is for something far more minor then their previous transgressions and then they are sent out of the class to prevent them disrupting further. At this stage your patience is pretty much gone and you have little left to deal with minor behavioural issue from other students and this is where pacing your patience comes in.

5 Ways to Pace your Patience (Graphic: text below)


5 Ways to Pace your Patience

1. Give students early warnings to reset your patience / tolerance. 

  • By giving students an early warning even if it is non verbal you establish that the behaviour is not acceptable in your classroom . You also reset your patience / tolerance of that students behaviour.

2. Follow through on warnings as per your behaviour plan. 

  • Ensure that when students are issued warning that you follow through. Failing to recognise continued poor behaviour will press on your patience and make following through more difficult in the future.

3. Keep activities within a time limit

  • Keeping a time limit for each activity can help to reset your patience at the beginning of each new activity.
  • For example moving from a discussion to a written activity requires different types of patience thus allowing you a break from each of the different behaviours that students may be exhibiting.

4. Give Praise

  • When you are dealing with poor behaviours giving positive praise to students with the correct behaviour can help “fill your bucket” and extend your patience.

5. Get you and your classing moving

  • If you’re nearly at the end of your patience/tolerance get your class moving. Getting your body moving will release endorphins and help reset your patience.


What strategies do you use to help your patience stretch throughout a lesson? Please share by commenting below or on our facebook page.



About cmcaton

I am a Secondary Teacher and Head of Department Mathematics in Education Queensland. I am passionate about the development of pedagogy that engages the 21st century student and love to explore their implementation in the classroom. Disclaimer: The thoughts on this page are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.
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