I wrote this on Monday but the internet went down so I couldn't post it. I almost had to question if I even wrote it, so here it is.
With two 4 day weeks behind them, and next week the start of two more 4 day weeks, today marked the Monday of their only 5 day week in the mid-term stretch. If today was any indication, it is a sign of good days to come. Maybe it was that the Monday after the long weekend left them all tired, or perhaps the mention of report cards being one month away brought a more serious feeling to the room, but whatever the case, this morning’s meditation was still and silent from beginning to end, even with the arrival of surprise visitor.
I started with my class, and after announcements and a brief update about the day we got into our meditation. Everyone was quiet before we even began so it was a very easy start. Student A had his head down on his binder, which some students had found and brought to him earlier that morning. Student B seemed a bit tired and a little preoccupied so was not seeking anyone else’s attention. He sat up, leaning his head on his hand and was quiet through the whole meditation. At one point I noticed his friend across the room looking at him, expecting some response, but today there was none. Everyone was quiet and the room was very peaceful.
A few breaths into the breath count I noticed someone at my door. There are often students coming around classrooms to use computers, as we don’t have a computer lab and the library is often booked, and there were some girls at another door, but it is unusual to have adults come to the door. The woman saw the lights were off and didn’t interrupt, but I wasn’t sure who was there, so I opened the door as I kept counting.
It turned out it was the liaison worker for my student with visual impairments, and there was a mix-up around the date, which was why I hadn’t been expecting her. As soon as I saw who it was, I gestured a welcome as I kept counting. I also signaled that we would be about three more minutes, and invited her to take my chair in the circle, as I continued with the count. She sat down, and if my students noticed, they didn’t give any indication. No one disturbed the silence.
I continued, inviting my students to find what they need in their breath as we begin sharing our demonstrations of learning of the common errors, inhaling the confidence to believe in the work they have done and their understanding, exhaling the worry, fear and doubt that blocks them, and makes them second guess themselves.
As we moved into the silence, with my spot taken, I had to find another place to sit. I went to the other side of the class, near the computers, quietly lifted a chair, turned it around, and took a place between two tables- the beauty of the circle of my classroom; everyone has a place and there is room for many- and took part in the silence.
Again, if the students I joined noticed I was there, they didn’t show it. Within a breath or two, I also closed my eyes, so I probably wouldn’t have noticed if they did either. I took a few moments, breathing in the stillness and silence, and thought it was a good start to the week. Just before we ended, I took a moment to be grateful as I opened my eyes and looked around the room at how quiet everyone was and how calm everyone felt. I felt happy to be in my classroom with my students- I think they did too, at least if they have to be in school.
It was a feeling that lasted through the first part of the morning, and more or less through the day…after all, it was still Monday in middle school.
I saw my switch class after lunch, which had followed TAA, and while they were a little less calm than my class had been first thing in the morning, they were relatively quiet, and relaxed, especially after I told them that their presentations wouldn’t actually start until Wednesday.
As we began, they were once again quiet, but not entirely still or silent, as is the tendency with this class, especially in the afternoons. Once the lights went off and the music began, most had their heads down. My breather breathed as usual, and his friend joined us when he quietly came back in the room, after indicating it was urgent he leave when we were about to start. I never question a kid who says that it is urgent. My fidgeter was fidgety today, as usual, but a little more so, putting his head down and then picking it up a few times in between playing with his water bottle and other objects in his reach.
Maybe because he is sitting beside my fidgeter, the boy who likes to look at me was doing that more today too, watching me as I walked around the room, putting his head down when we made eye contact and lifting it again when I had passed. He did that two or three times as I circled around and I am still not sure what he was looking for in my attention. I smiled at him and encouraged him and everyone to inhale their confidence, in their work and learning as they reflect upon it, and to exhale the worry, fear and doubt, and to be aware of what they tell themselves about their work, their learning and their efforts, inhaling honest reflection and exhaling the voice that puts us down.
I joined them in a minute or so at the end, enjoying the quiet, the near stillness and near silence before I closed the meditation. While not as peaceful as the morning, there was still a positive and focused feel in the room. We moved into reflecting on their projects, preparing for presentations and the rest of the afternoon, including getting ready for another field trip tomorrow. Much like the meditation, it went very quickly and smoothly. I have a feeling the rest of the week will too.