A Missing Flyer Was All It Took: A Self-Reg View Of My Mini-Meltdown

A Missing Flyer Was All It Took: A Self-Reg View Of My Mini-Meltdown

Last week, I had my own mini-adult temper tantrum. It was the end of the day on Thursday, and as part of our current phase of Work-To-Rule, we all need to be out of the building in 15 minutes. Like others, my teaching partner, Paula, and I are working through these new entry and exit realities, and some days are easier than others. Thursday was not an easy day.

As we rushed to set-up, and I could feel the minutes ticking by, I realized that we needed flyers for our new Plastic Planet provocation. I know that I picked up flyers last weekend at the grocery store. In fact, I had a few different kinds of flyers. I always put flyers in the same cupboard with the paper supplies, but they weren’t there. Why weren’t they there? Where might they be? I was looking everywhere, highly aware of the time, and overwhelmed with my disorganization. The lack of finding flyers didn’t bring me to tears, but I was close: lump-in-the-throat, high-pitched voice close. I could easily stop and get flyers on the way home — which is what I did — and yet, these flyers, or lack thereof, seemed to symbolize all of my stress.

With less time before and after school, I feel that little less organized than usual. Everything is in the classroom, but maybe not in the spaces where I’m used to things being. Looking time was limited, and knowing that I would need to do the same job twice (going and getting the flyers again), just felt overwhelming. Strangely enough, I was feeling this same stress — and maybe more — after school on Friday. One of our learning spaces isn’t working the way that we want it to, and we know that something needs to change. What though? Usually Paula and I take some extra time at the end of the day to sit, observe, just be (and think), and then the ideas come, but we don’t have this time right now. Not in the classroom. It bothers me to leave a space that we know isn’t working, but what could we do? Add to this some additional home stress (all is fine, but at the time, it felt like one more thing on my overfull plate), and my emotions were at an all-time high.

Thankfully though, a rolled down window, some loud country music, and a little more thought, gave me an idea. I texted Paula when I got home (with a clearer head), and we developed a plan. Breathe. Everything is okay once again. A few stressful temper tantrums have ended with a weekend feeling of calm. I share this, for today, I logged into the Co-Reg Community to check out some of the new posts. As I went to comment, I noticed this badge under my name.

Haven. I definitely didn’t feel like a “Self-Reg expert” last week. Self-regulation came, but after a few missteps and with some additional time. Maybe this is a reminder that as much as we may know, have read, or continue to learn about Self-Reg, we all make mistakes. We all have those moments where calm doesn’t come and dysregulation creeps in. I had those moments last week. I also have an amazing teaching partner though, who gave me the safe space to share, the opportunity to unwind, and the time to work through problems together. We all need our people. Here’s to hoping that this week, I have a little more initial sucess at finding my calm. Maybe though, if I see a child having a temper tantrum, a meltdown, or something similar, I will have some extra empathy. I’ve been there. Have you? I wonder if we all need to share our stories.


Aviva Dunsiger is the Co-Reg Community Moderator and completed the Foundations 1 Certification Program. She has taught everything from Kindergarten to Grade 6 and enjoys blogging about her teaching and learning experiences. She blogs professionally on her blog, Living Avivaloca. Aviva is excited to contribute a monthly post on The MEHRIT Centre Blog.

By | 2020-01-20T13:48:30+00:00 January 21st, 2020|


  1. Lisa Richter January 21, 2020 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    This reminds me so much of my mini meltdown (didn’t feel so mini) last month, leading up to the holidays, new (to me) manager, and working on my performance appraisal (which is an enormous document, at an already-overwhelming time of year). One email came in to “clarify” an aspect of the performance appraisal, and it was the straw that broke the camel’s back! Breathing became difficult. Thinking clearly became impossible. And role modelling calm and effective coping strategies was most definitely not happening! Thank heavens there is almost always someone or something that serves as a reminder to stop and take a few deep breaths, re-evaluate and make a plan! Like you, I got through! Wishing you as much peace as possible in the coming days and weeks ahead. It’s a challenging time in many sectors. It’s so important that we continue to be kind to ourselves!

    • Aviva Dunsiger January 21, 2020 at 1:55 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much for your comment, Lisa, and for sharing your experiences! I loved your line about “being kind to ourselves.” It reminds me of Susan Hopkins’ expression, “soft eyes.” We need this for ourselves as well as our kids. I’m glad that you got through your mini-meltdown, and I’m happy that I got through mine. Having people in our lives to support us can make a big difference. This is when co-regulation can be so very valuable!


  2. Tina January 22, 2020 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    Awhile ago I ‘tripped’ over a comment. It just came out the wrong way at the wrong time. Fortunately, I have a great admin team who just asked me to stop by to co-regulate. They mentioned that it wasn’t like me to talk or respond in that matter. They just wanted to check in with me and make sure I was okay. They mentioned they were available if I just needed to talk and that they are there for me. Being human, giving yourself the love and grace allows us to be kinder to ourselves. And to give unconditional love when those moments go awry. Self Reg and Keep Calm:)

    • Aviva Dunsiger January 23, 2020 at 1:26 am - Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Tina! I love that your admin team was there for you too. We are all human, and they obviously also realize this. I work with amazing administrators as well, and I appreciate that they’re a few of the people that also co-regulate me. Experiences like the ones I had the other day and yours are good reminders for us that the human factor is always at play. So how do we then learn from these experiences and hopefully have some different reactions the next time?


  3. Cassie St Amand February 11, 2020 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing and sorry to hear about all of the stresses and extra pressure. As a teacher and mother I feel so grateful to know there are individuals like yourself fighting for our children and always looking to do the best they can with what we have available. I chose to embark on my own journey owning a preschool and soon to be new nature school. I too feel the stress of supporting others as they walk their own self reg path (even when I see it a different way and want to push so much harder). I too need to be reminder to accept what I have, especially on those days when it is even more challenging. Thank you again and wishing you more moments for pause and space to continue to create 🙂

    • Aviva Dunsiger February 12, 2020 at 8:12 am - Reply

      Thanks Cassie! Good luck on your exciting new adventure. I have always been intrigued by nature schools and would love to hear more. Reading your comment and thinking about my experience makes me realize again that we all have our own struggles. Sometimes I need to remember this when having conversations with others or viewing different experiences through my lens. Thanks for the reminder!


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