Today was a much smoother day. With Band and then Choir to start the day, I saw each of my classes before lunch, with my switch class in period 3 and my class in period 4. Though everyone was excited for their day off tomorrow, there was also a sense of urgency as they know their projects are due on Monday, and there was also a list of assignments they had to be sure they had in. They had a lot of work to get done in the short periods we had together, with TAA taking up part of the afternoon and PLC's annoying mine, taking up my prep time.
My switch class came to me first and they were less settled than yesterday. They were still quiet from the beginning of the meditation to the end, but they were not still or silent. It was fine, good enough, but not great.
From within a few minutes of starting through to the end, there was never quite stillness in the room. It didn't come from one place in particular, it wasn't only my fidgeter, though he was fidgeting on and off too, but from different students in all corners of the room- the shuffle of a chair, the tapping of a finger, the squeaking of a table or a shoe, all contributed to a slight restlessness in the room.
And at the same time, it was quiet. As I moved through the prompts, the breath count, and then guided them to find what they needed today, to inhale whatever quality they felt like they wanted to grow- the focus, the confidence, the positivity- and to feel it growing inside them, and to exhale the opposing quality- the distractions, the fear, the negativity- and to feel it lessening inside them, they were quiet. Despite the subtle annoyances, that are perhaps only noticeable to me because I am observing them, my breathers kept on breathing, and thankfully everyone else did too, and there was silence in the room.
When we were done, I pointed out the disruptions I had noticed. I demonstrated the noise of the table squeaking on the floor, the crumpling of the bottle, and other movements and how they add up, realizing I had not had this conversation with this class before. I reminded them how we are all in this together and so each movement affects the entire class. No one lives in a bubble.
I mentioned the asthma story, which I had clearly never mentioned before, because it led to a whole discussion of asthma and its effects, as well as lung function and the size of the lungs, stretching the length of our rib cage, from top to bottom, and requiring time to empty and fill. They were quite engaged in the discussion, as well as concerned about the welfare of the girl who had had the asthma attack, and it was an interesting chat. Then it ended, and we move on to the work of the day.
My class came back 40 minutes later and were also more restless today than yesterday too, but still quieter than my switch class. Student A had been reading on the beanbag chair in the hallway, and I invited him to join us for the meditation and then go back to reading, but he told me preferred to keep reading, and I wasn't going to argue. At least I can trust him to stay there and keep reading.
Everyone else settled in, and Student B showed his need for attention almost as soon as we began. I stood in front of him as he started to smirking across the room at his friend, who was of course looking at him. I once again reminded him that he didn't need his friend's attention, or mine, that he could take a few minutes to look within, or he could just sit there. He put his head down for a minute or two.
After the usual prompts and breath count, I encouraged them to find what they need this morning as well, breathing in whatever quality the wished to grow and exhaling the negative quality which gets in the way. As I sat down and we moved into a minute or two of silence, the room was quiet, but also not still. The boy beside me was scratching his leg, which was clearly very itchy, and while it would not have been noticeable at all during regular classroom activities, it was very obvious during a meditation. Though not intentional, the student, the same one who had brought the fart to my attention, was quite apologetic for the stir he caused in a whisper. No one reacted outwardly, except Student B, who had decided to use the opportunity to practice his breath, deeply and pretty loudly. I let it go for a few breaths, but when it was the only noise in the room and it kept getting louder, I let out a "Shh," the kind that sounds like I am leaking, and opened my eyes to give him a look. As I had hoped it did the trick, and we finished the meditation in relative silence.
As I turned on the lights, I talked about being itchy during a meditation and trying to breath through it until it goes away. I told them about an experience I had had when I had been meditating and my palm got itchy- I was trying to ignore it and breath through it, and at one point the itchy feeling was so intense I experienced a strong burning sensation that felt like it would never end, I felt like my hand was on fire. But somehow, I just kept breathing, and bringing my attention to each inhale and each exhale, and then suddenly the feeling was gone. I remembered not noticing exactly when it had stopped and being surprised that it had, almost as though I had forgotten about it.
Before we got to work I also confessed that I had almost lost it, and my laughter had nearly ruined the meditation this morning. As we started and I gave the usual prompts, I noticed that just about everyone had put their head down as usual, but today so did one EA. With Student A busy reading, she could take a few moments for herself to breath, and today it seemed she really needed it. I had to laugh, and managed to keep the chuckle in my head, but very much appreciated the moment. Sometimes even adults need to put their head down for 5 minutes.
We all had a good chuckle when I shared my thoughts with them and then we moved into a very nice, and productive Fake-Friday. I am looking forward to meeting new teachers, seeing colleagues and longtime friends, taking in the keynote speaker, Thomas Falkenberg, of the U of M, who is also the professor who published my work, and presenting at Manitoba Middle Years Association tomorrow, but I can't complain about today. It was a good day.