Monday, January 23, 2017

Another Monday, Another Week

The last full week in January, closing in on the halfway point of the school year, and the routines of learning and our classroom rhythm are in place, though the days are not without their challenges, especially while trying to meet the needs of so many diverse individuals.

Everyone was present when I started with my class this morning. Everyone was also tired, which is not unusual for a Monday, and Student A was visibly wiped. He put his head down right away, as did everyone else, and with only one period to start the day, and a short five and a half minute track, I got right to it.

It was a typical meditation with a focus on a good start to the week with a positive and productive Monday. It was also what has become typical in its stillness and in its silence. Towards the end of the meditation, with about a minute left, the door opened and an AE came in with one of the EA candidates learning in our school. Though the room was dark and quiet, they were not particularly mindful, and at first began to talk to another EA in the room. My back was to the door, but I shifted, sshed, and gestured that we would be another minute, and they understood the situation and waited quietly. My class remained still and undisturbed, and as I closed the meditation, I congratulated them on maintaining and exercising their power and encouraged them to continue to carry it with them  throughout the day.

My switch class came not long after, during 2nd period. Mr. Y was away and there was some confusion about the switch, but once we figured it out, they got settled very quickly and seemed happy to relax into their breath. Again I moved quickly through the five and a half minute Monday meditation, focusing on a positive start to the day and the week ahead.

It wasn't perfect- less still and silent than my class before- but everyone stayed, there were no big disruptions, and it was quiet enough. As with the class before, the minutes of meditation, and the classes that followed went quickly.

The day was not without its challenges. Student A has been struggling, overcome by behaviours that affect everyone in the class. Our school team is working on his Individualized Education Plan and scheduling and support that works for him. Without mentioning anything directly, in the morning I told my class some of what has been going on, and that when they came back at the end of the day for period eight we would meditate again.

At the end of Exploratory in 7th period, I turned off the lights and started the music. I told the Exploratory students to sit down and relax, and as the others came back for Band I directed them to do the same. But I gave the directions from outside the door, because, as it happened, Student A left for some alternative programming, but before he did, there had been a problem in the previous class.

I had intended to guide a meditation, but I was dealing with the issue in the room next door, which took a couple of minutes. I wasn't sure what I would walk into, especially as the EA in the room was also a substitute and not the usual adult presence, yet I wasn't entirely surprised to find everyone with their heads down and quiet in the room.

A few looked up as I walked in, and promptly put their heads back down when they saw me, but most didn't move. I quietly congratulated  them for knowing what to do to make the most of these moments, and encouraged them to continue to enjoy the stillness and silence for a few more minutes. I let them stay with it until the end of the track, which accumulated to just under 10 minutes of quiet, before I brought them back.

As I closed the meditation and before we got to work, I spoke of what had happened earlier, and the impact we all have on each other's learning, including Student A. I pointed out how they were learning to take care of themselves. I reminded them of some strategies, including counting on the adults around them by coming to them before they responded, and continuing to be their kind, empathetic, awesome selves.

It was a nice end to another crazy Monday and a good start to afternoon meditations. Now we will see what tomorrow and the rest of the week will breath at a time.

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