Monday, November 7, 2016

Day 35- Suddenly it is Monday again

The rhythm of the school year is underway, and the stress of the end of term, finishing projects in time for assessment, and assessing projects and preparing to write report cards, is felt by them and me. At the same time, there is a calm in the awareness that everything will get done, and the stress is just there to keep us our toes and ensure we all follow through, a big part of school, after all.

I saw my class after break this morning and the meditation was peaceful. Student A was away and everyone else was quiet. With only one period together, feeling the pressures of time, I chose the 5 and a half minute meditation and we got straight to it.

I moved quickly through the prompts, spending no more time than necessary on the instructions. They don't really need much anymore, but the prompts are familiar reminders, which hopefully guide them into a more meditative state more quickly, or at least support the silence and connection between us all in the room.

Today it felt comfortable and quiet, with the time passing quickly, including the last half of the meditation, which we spent together in silence. The room was still inside, and pretty quiet outside too. I breathed in my energy, happy I can mostly breathe through my nose again, and exhaled my tension and impatience. I also acknowledged my gratitude for the day, my students and the quiet in the room, and another good start to the second half of the morning. Then we only had one period together so we got to work, choosing from the writing, French and projects they need to finish.

I managed to get time in the library and met my switch class there for fourth period to finish the morning. I had told them to meet me there and log in, and most had, but with everyone present we were short and couple of computers, and of course, a couple hadn't managed to log in, which annoyed and distracted me.

It is natural for teachers to feel, and struggle with, the pressures of time at this time of year, and I am grateful to have the experience to rely on to know that it will all get done, but I think this is the first time I have had such an acute awareness of the pressure I still feel some days, or in some periods of the day. I know it is important, because I can't transfer my stress to my students, especially when they are doing the same things they do on any other day, even if it is annoying and they are wasting time.

This was part of my awareness in the library today, as I was the one distracted in the meditation. It began as usual, most happy to be in the library, logging in and then moving to the beanbag chairs and getting comfortable. I had suggested they log in and move their chairs so their backs were to the computers, but none did. I forgot to notice until we were into the meditation, and I had to turn off a monitor or two. I was more annoyed with myself for forgetting than Students 1 and 2, who wanted to play more than breathe and whose behaviour I had to address, but I was annoyed with them too, which I let them know with a look.

They stopped and settled when I switched the monitors off, and I continued through the prompts and the breath count walking around the room. As I did I noticed several students who had not yet logged in. The computers take minutes to load, which was the reason to log in first, making the minutes in meditation even more useful and beneficial in the precious time we have to write. I nudged the kids who hadn't logged in to do so in the meditation, even though it distracted them for the moment and me. It didn't bother the group as a whole and I didn't want them waiting around again after we were done.

As they did, I continued to move through the usual prompts, finally suggesting they inhale their confidence to write, seeing the words appear on the screen, and exhaling the fears that block the words. We moved into the silence and I was still distracted by the computers and the behaviours. They were quiet and pretty still as I stood watching, closing my eyes to take a couple of breaths, but mostly just watching them and noticing the computers of those I had told to log in loading as we ended the meditation. At least the timing was good.

It wasn't a great meditation for me, but I think it was still good for them, and they were focused on their writing through the period that followed until it was time for lunch. After lunch, they had TAA and then we had library time in which to work, and almost everyone did. It was pretty good for a Monday in November. Hopefully a good sign for the short week ahead. And keeping the writing short leaves time to do at least a little marking too.

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