Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Done

Monday, January 30

In another paradox that is life, Day 2 has turned out to be the easiest day and the hardest day of the school day cycle. It is the easiest teaching day, with only two periods of teaching time, but harder with the six periods of alternate activities and a weird flow to the day. I see my switch class to meditate during period 3 after break, and my class in the afternoon for our library time. It makes for some uneven days and less than perfect meditations. I can only imagine how crazy it would be if we didn't meditate.

My switch class came after break and though it took a minute or two, they eventually settled as we got ready to start the morning. We had two periods to get into reading Hana's Suitcase, and our meditation focused on getting prepared, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually for sitting to read and the topic.

We moved through the usual process, preparing for the class and the day ahead, and the room was never loud, but it was never completely still or quiet. Student 1 was playing with some Plasticine and it only took a look for him to stop banging it around, but he continued fidgeting with it, making noise that stood out in the quiet room, as did the shuffling and other slight movements here and there. But like each day before, the six minutes passed quickly if not in idyllic silence, and led into the reading that followed, through which my students were engaged and respectful.

After lunch and TAA, I met my class in the library along with my switch class. My switch class was surprised to learn they would be meditating again, but I told them my class hadn't meditated yet, and it wouldn't hurt them to take another five minutes to breathe. I told everyone to find a place and get comfortable and many found chairs, but about 8 to 10 girls had made themselves comfortable on about 4 beanbags chairs, pretty much sprawled on top of each other. I noticed and told them I was tempted to have them all move, at it is nowhere near the ideal meditation posture, but they all looked so cute and comfortable. So instead I told them that as long as they could be still and silent and not disturb each other, then I was fine with them sitting there. Of course these girls rose to the challenge, and enjoyed the time together without any noise at all. They are just lovely.

Everyone else was pretty quiet, and the library also stilled as the librarian dimmed the lights and I began the music and the meditation. As I went through the prompts, breath count and focus on making the most of the last hour of the day, a teacher and some students came into the library at different times to get their work off the printer, entering and leaving quietly, while my students and the meditation remained undisturbed. I also noticed a teacher and one or two students come to the door, peer into the darkness in the room and leave, deciding it wasn't the time to enter.

The only student who made noise was Student A. He had been in TAA and joined the class late, making his entrance known by banging on the window. I had seen him coming and greeted him at the door, with a look and a ssh and he responded with a look of his own and quieting down, which I take as a huge win. He perched himself on the ledge, which was fine, until he picked up a meter stick and started poking the boy in front of him. The boy didn't flinch, and I was there a moment later to take the meter stick away, all in the midst of the meditation.

We moved into the silence, and with only a minute or two of quiet, Student A settled, fidgeting with his fidget toy, and not bothering anyone else. Everyone else enjoyed the silence and the library was still and calm. Like the morning, it wasn't perfect, but the minutes passed, and the last hour of the day went pretty smoothly too.

Wednesday, January 31

I decided that learning about The Holocaust is heavy enough, and while I make all too scary connections to the world today, I am trying to balance the sometimes atrocious events that happen all too often today with the events of the past that are hard enough to fathom and digest. The morning began with one period with each class to read Hana's Suitcase, and so I chose to keep the day, and the meditation, regular, instead of talking about the terrible events in Quebec City. We didn't have enough time to devote to a METTA meditation, and so I went in the opposite direction with a short, five and a half minute meditation through which I spoke as little as possible.

The day began with my class and as usual they settled very quickly. I had two ninth grade volunteers in my room for the day and they were happy to be back and joined in the meditation, taking seats in the circle with their backs straight. Before I began, I told them about my experience the night before, in an MRI machine where my knowledge and experience with meditation saved me from moments of panic in the beginning, and helped the time fly by during the 30 minute process.

My class knows I experience headaches and so I explained that I had gone for the MRI as a precaution. We talked about MRIs and the brain, and I told them about the claustrophobic machine and how I used my breath just like I instruct them in class, first with my breath count, and then inhaling the calm and exhaling the fear. I reminded them that once we have a skill, like meditating, but just about anything we learn, we have it forever, and can use it in all sorts of circumstances. No one can take our learning away from us.

I told the story in both classes and then we went through the same, short meditations. I encouraged them to find what they need, inhaling the quality they wish to grow and exhaling the fears and blocks. The room was still and silent with my class, and as it ended it clear that if I had extended the time, no one would have complained. They were slow to move, but as I turned on the lights and we got into the reading, everyone became engaged in the story.

The meditation with my switch class was the same as the morning with a little less stillness and silence. Student 2 didn't try to leave, but a girl who has also taken to leaving as we begin got up to write her name on the board. I suggested that she could wait for 5 minutes, and that while she always came back quietly, I preferred she stayed, and she sat back down without complaint. Student 1 has returned to fidgeting, but stopped when I looked at him, and everyone else was quiet if not completely still. The five and a half minutes went quickly as they do and we continued with our reading.

The rest of the day went by, playing our Exploratory Board Games in the afternoon, and before I knew it, another Tuesday was done. 

No comments:

Post a Comment