So I started reading this book. I had been thinking about getting a book on mindfulness specifically aimed at classroom teachers, but this one came to me! My wife went to a conference (Momentous I think it was called) and came back with three or four great books. So I stole this one ;).
I feel like I have a head start on some of the things that she talks about in the first few chapters because of my yoga practice. When she talks about breath, I can feel what she means. Like the way it feels when you breathe in through your nose and the air swirls around in your mouth and heats up a little bit. It slows me down when I notice that.
I have already gotten a lot of great advice from the first section of the book. The other day, I was so close to snapping at a student when he didn’t take his seat after I had asked the class several times. But I took notice of this emotion right away because I was being mindful. I stopped, took a deep breath in, felt the air swirl around in my mouth and heat up a little. This noticing centered me and it only took a few seconds so I was still in a position to handle the situation appropriately. I asked the student if there was a reason he needed to be standing up. This question was intended to get him to think about it for himself. We have previously talked about strategies that will allow him more movement throughout class, like we have a stand up station set up for him when he needs it. This time, he just wasn’t paying attention and so he just took his seat, but my hope is that he will begin to realize for himself when he needs to stand or move around and when he just needs to try and focus. Maybe we’ll work on mindful breathing soon.
But what I’ve found most helpful so far is Ms Srinivasan’s description of helpful and unhelpful seeds. In that situation from the other day, if I had snapped I would have most definitely been watering an unhelpful seed. This student does not respond well to a stern “teacher voice” sort of discipline (and I know this!). So by giving him that feedback, I would be reinforcing in his mind that I am not there to help him, but just another hassle in his day to get through. By not reacting, breathing mindfully, I was able to water a helpful seed. And writing about it here is helping me to water this same seed in myself! 🙂
I am super excited about sharing mindfulness techniques with my students, but I know I need to practice more myself first. One thing at a time.