Tough Teaching Day? Have Them Meditate
(2 to 3 minutes is all you need)
By Lori Barnum
There are a lot of tough teaching days. Sometimes those diversions are fire drills, the day before break, state testing stress, or myriad of other distractions.
I use this easy, quick 2 to 3 minute technique to bring calm to my classroom.
I saw meditation work best on my least favorite holiday. Halloween. Halloween is one of the worst dreaded days of the year to teach. The students’ minds are on their costumes, their evening plans and the excitement of a pillow case full of candy. Getting the kids to focus is especially tough if they have already started hitting the sugar at home. I also have a lot of curriculum to get through so I don’t like to fill those days with meaningless activities. As usual, this last Halloween the kids came into classroom loud, rambunctious and full of energy and, truthfully, I came to work with a pretty negative attitude expecting, well…just that. I got through first period and realized there was a strong possibility it would not be a productive day. It was only 8:45 a.m. and the energy had become overwhelming. I needed to uses my chaos to calm method of classroom management.
After my second period loudly shuffled in I turned off my lights. I told the students that we were going to take a few minutes to regroup and refocus. I had them close their eyes and take deep breaths from their belly. I asked that as they exhaled if they would release all the excess energy and tell themselves to relax.
BREATH IN CALM – BREATHE OUT RELEASE
The silence was deafening. You could feel the shift in energy and the relief in their body language that they were given a moment to calm themselves. They wanted the peace. They wanted to focus. With the lights off I told them that I was going to turn the lights back on and what expectations I had for them. I allowed a few more moments and then I turned on the lights and continued my lesson. The energy had shifted. They got to work and worked hard. I used this for every period throughout my day and the kids truly appreciated it.
There are some days that the kids recognize they feel overwhelmed and ask to meditate. I love their self-awareness.