Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Day 13- Tuesday Morning, Tuesday Afternoon

Today was thankfully a typical Tuesday, relatively uneventful, though there was added excitement due to TAA in the morning- TAA is always a more exciting day because the Technology and Applied Arts courses tend to be more interesting to them-  and we were preparing for our field trip tomorrow. Almost all of our students handled everything well, especially as we all sat together for the last hour of the day and discussed the expectations for the next day, including behaviours, rules and the writing assignments we will be doing. In the end, they demonstrated that we are in for an awesome day tomorrow, with the forecast still sunny and 20 degrees, I don't think anyone is more excited than me for our day of writing at The Forks.

But  before we get to tomorrow, there was today and two very different meditations- one in the morning and one in the afternoon.The morning began with my homeroom and after a brief event in the first 30 seconds it was exceptionally quiet.

The day began with the usual housekeeping, letting them know we would be changing the afternoon schedule to accommodate the time to prepare for the field trip and work ahead tomorrow, as well as a more official introduction of our new student to our classroom.

Before I began the meditation Student B confirmed that we would indeed be meditating, and then as I began the student beside him indicated that he no longer felt the need to move away from his friend. He told me they could handle sitting beside him, and I agreed that they've got this. I let them know how far they had come in such a short time, them and everyone.

Student A took a little longer to get settled this morning. He had been drawing-drawing what I hoped would be the start of the Minecraft plan I am hoping he will get going on, as it is the one thing he told me he wished he could learn and do at school, and so I told him to make a plan and I would set him up with the teacher who could give him access at school- but he quickly abandoned it and was in the process of ripping up the paper as we were about to begin the meditation.

Just before I began, he threw the paper in the recycling bin, and as I started he very methodically began putting all his stuff away. I took about 30 seconds and though he was quiet, he was also very deliberate and purposeful and the process wasn't silent. He returned paper into his binder and snapped the rings closed, then he put couple of pencils and his pencil crayons into the pouch and zipped it up. and finally flipped his binder closed and zipped it shut too. The noise was very noticeable because the room was otherwise silent but no one paid much attention but me, or at least they didn't give it any power. I watched without saying anything, curious how far it would go, but once he was done, he folded his arms over his binder, titled his cap over his eyes, put his head down and was still and silent for the rest of the time. He needed to get ready in his own time and make sure I was aware of that, but once he was ready he was good to go. I am okay with that, for now.

As we came to the end of the meditation, I lingered in the silence for just a moment between the end of the music and the cues to bring them back and turning on the lights. It was just a breath or two, but it was lovely. As we ended I told them that and how I felt in the moment, enjoying the peace in our classroom. I thanked them for their efforts and congratulated their skills and growth. Then, as usual, we got on with our day.

I saw my switch class right after lunch, as the morning was TAA, and perhaps as a result they were a little more restless, or maybe it was just Tuesday. Within the first 3-5 minutes, just as we were about to begin, two kids told me they had to go to the bathroom. I said if they really had to leave, of course they could, because I hate questioning a kid's sense of urgency, and I acknowledged to the class that sometimes after lunch it is harder to gauge, so that if it was urgent they can always leave- we have a system where a student writes their name on the board indicating they are out of the room and erases it when they return with 2 people allowed to leave at a time- but that during meditation they should be mindful of everyone else and try not to leave.

I also reminded them that they deserve to give themselves this time, that they are important, more important than anything they have to do, as a couple of boys had their noses in their books, reading by the light of the interior windows. I encouraged them to stop, and reminded them how it could affect their eyes, but they continued reading through the meditation. This is not the first time I have had avid readers, or kids who avoid meditating with books, it usually comes and goes depending on what they are reading and where they are sitting, as some parts of the room are much darker than others. I will see how it goes and if it persists too much, or I feel it is harmful, I will have some quiet conversations and talk about the benefits of balancing all of our good habits and preserving the health of our eyes.

After a couple of minutes, the two who had left the room came back. One boy let the door swing behind him, and I was too far away to catch it before it slammed shut. It was a momentary disturbance, but added to the restlessness already present. The second boy came back, mindfully closing the door behind him, but these things are still noticeable. As soon as he came in, two boys on either side of the room jumped up as if to leave. At that point I realized I needed to spell out what I had meant by urgent, and with only a minute or two left to go, I had had enough. I replaced the number I was counting it a calm but firm, "NO" and shut the revolving door, without missing a beat. "Inhale, 2, 3, NO, hold, 2, exhale 2, 3, 4," and then we finished the meditation.

As soon as we did and I turned on the lights, I let the two people who wanted to leave know that now they could, and though I wasn't surprised I was still relieved when neither jumped up to leave the room as I sat down to talk to them. I spoke about the idea of planning and urgency. They do have all of lunch hour, and if it is suddenly urgent at one, unless they are sick, then they also needed to go before and to be sure that they do. I emphasized the impact it has on others, as well as the attention the need to pay to the door if they absolutely must leave the room. As I finished, I also let them know I wasn't at all angry or upset with anyone, or anything they had done, that it was all part of our learning and it was simply important to be aware of themselves and others. Then we moved on to our class en Francais and the rest of the afternoon.

And now I am back to looking forward to tomorrow. Sunny and 20, hoping for the best. Hope you have an awesome Wednesday too.

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