I have entered a new place for me both professionally and personally--I have discovered meditation. In an rare moment or rather whim I downloaded three apps to my phone during my 2nd period Honors class and proceeded to "test" out the hull-a-ba-loo around this whole mindfulness business. To my annoyance only one of the three apps worked and to my further annoyance (timed rather perfectly) my extender cord to my iPhone wasn't producing sound.
Fortunately, one of my astute students said, "put it in a cup or jar and it will act like a speaker."
Whaaaaaaat?!? Lightbulb, mind blowing moment...but not the moment that inspired this post.
We listened to the app--one that I used with my six and three year olds to go to bed. It of course, made us all sleepy and quite unproductive for the rest of the day.
Fast forward through the weekend, my Sunday night prep, and my Monday morning annoyance with said iPhone extender to a moment when I decided to use the website for another app that I had downloaded a few days earlier.
As the class the walked in, many asked "Are we going to meditate today?" "Are we doing focus time?" "Can we just take a nap again?"
On the one hand, I had piqued interest....on the other it may have been just from the idea that Miss B's class is now a non-sanctioned nap time.
I told them I was trying out a different site and there was a video that would help get us started. After the announcements, they settled in, I clicked play, and we followed along in a quick informational video narrated by the most adorable British man (or at least I am picturing him to be quite adorable...a cross between Mr. Darcy and the guy from the recent film "About Time."). My students quickly learned my love for the Brits and simulatanousely learned about "taking a quick trip across the pond."
When the video was over, I pressed play on the 10-minute guided meditation, watched, and waited.
My students took a little bit to settle, but once they did a calm blanketed the hushed classroom and students began to sink into the ground around them. Their fidgeting subsided. Their arms slowly slid down away from their bodies and hung solemnly as if waiting for a partner's hand to capture its unsuspecting stillness.
It was in this moment that I felt an overwhelming and profound sense of gratitude for these children to trust me with this experience. Not only to trust me and go on this hippie journey, but to trust their classmates and give in to the wholeness of the moment.
When our British ambassador began bringing us back over the pond, students slowly started to reappear. They stretched, readjusted their bodies back into their seats, and breathed a sense of calmness into the room.
Our day continued with not only a softness, but also an pure sense of engagement. Their minds and bodies were ready to hear what information was presented by not only me, but their peers. The purity and connectivity to what was in front of them continues to astound me as I reflect on this little experiment.
As I move through this term, my hope is that I will be able to commit and devote time to what clearly is a need for my students. I understand that at some point, I will probably have to include some sort of empirical or quantitative data to help support the need for such alternative practices...until then, I will just let my students and I continue to take a trip across the pond and try and find some headspace in our day.
***Headspace.com is the website that I used for this experiment. I recommend it not only for your students, but for you as an educator in this increasingly difficult and emotionally demanding profession. Best to you as you travel abroad.