Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Day 9- Typical Tuesday, or at least better than yesterday

It was still a challenging, and very busy day, but it was an easier and smoother than yesterday.

Before I sent my class off to write their first Math test, first thing in the morning, I let them know, that as we progressed in meditation it would become a tool they could use as they prepare to write tests, along with many other things. I encouraged them to notice how they were feeling, as many were visibly pumped and a few were somewhat anxious. I reminded them that the test was just a measure to show their understanding so Mr. Y, their Math teacher, would know where they stand.

In the minute or so before they went to the other room, I led them through a few deep breaths, visualizing their readiness as they sat down to write and their confidence in their skills as they wrote. On the exhale, they let go of their worries and nerves, noting their presence and just going on, doing their best, and working through the test.

Then they were off and I had my switch class. As I had been at the university during their first library period last week, I hadn't been to explain the INS, Independent Novel Study that we had our first work period for this afternoon. I wanted to be sure that everyone had a chance to get a book.

The library is a busy place, and as it happened the only period I could get with my switch class was first thing this morning, and so we started our class there. I was debating whether to meditate right away, or wait until we returned to the class during period 2, but ultimately decided part of the beauty, and purpose to meditating is that it can be done just about anywhere. I brought my music player and mini speaker and we all went to the library.

Helping to situate my new student took just a minute, but meant once again my class was waiting for me when I got there. They were all in the section of our library with the round table and chairs, with a few on the beanbag chairs and a couple on the floor, against the bookshelves around the periphery. I encouraged them to notice their backs and straighten them as much as possible wherever they were, and that all the rest would be them same.

Before we began, I spoke to them of the power of meditating, first in the ability to do it anywhere, and then in terms of the power we gain by doing it. That we can't control a lot about our circumstances, especially as kids, and we can't control other people, but we can learn to control and take care of ourselves, and by doing that we gain power.

As we started I reminded them that it didn't matter that we were in the library, if people came in and out, or there were other noises, all they had to do was breathe. But I am really not sure if they were paying much attention to what I was saying in those moments, because they were more surprised when I turned off all the lights in the library. It is a big, fish bowl of a room, with glass windows over the bookshelves almost all the way around, and a high ceiling with a lot of lights. When I turned them all off it was funny how many looked up at the ceiling, enough that I noticed.

Then we all got into the meditation and it was stiller than usual with this class, perhaps because it was first thing in the morning, or maybe because they were more spread out and a few were quite comfortable on the beanbag chairs, or maybe because it was a strange and alternate space and between the music, my breath count and the gurgling of the fish tank left no room for noise. Whatever the reason, it was very nice.

At about the half-way mark the library technician returned to the library and only one student, was distracted by it. He looked at me and motioned his concern and I silenced him with a smile, nod and Shh and he went back to looking around the room. He is another lovely student with a story, and will need attention, and practice, like the rest of us, just a little more.

We finished the meditation and before we got to work, I returned to idea of the power we have over ourselves and our choices, and what we gain when we use our power. I made the connection between meditating and learning, that I can't force them to do either, I can't will it for them, or make it happen, but I can help them find their power as they do it for themselves. Then we got on with the day.

It was after break when my class came back and whether it was the Math test or just the energy they were pretty hyped. As we began I challenged Student B to make this a meditation through which I didn't have to stand behind him the whole time, reminding him of his power. Student A and my new student both put their heads down and relaxed into it, so much so that shortly after my new student fell asleep for the majority of the periods, despite the work and noise going on around him after the meditation ended. I took it as a sign that the move and life has been exhausting, and he is feeling safe and comfortable enough in my classroom to rest and let it go. He clearly needed the sleep. Another benefit of meditation.

The rest of the meditation was okay. Everyone settled pretty quickly. Some were slightly distracted by Student B, looking at him, especially the student sitting beside him, but it was because he was trying to follow the breath count, so I have to give him the benefit of the doubt, though the giggling was annoying. I didn't have to stand there the entire time, but I did return to that part of the room several times, and lingered. The meditation went by quickly and then they got to work.

All in all, we are looking to progress and improve, and today was better than yesterday, so I guess I can't complain.

An added bonus, as bizarre as it is in the middle of the week, tomorrow is our School Division's Professional Development Day and so, while I am working, I don't have classes. Hopefully tomorrow will be useful and productive, but it will be a break from my students and a break from writing. They will be both back soon enough, so I will take the day to breathe.

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