Just about every day I wonder if I’m really making a difference. It helps to have some evidence that your thoughts, words and actions do indeed sometimes impact others. I have a file folder that I’ve labeled “Happy File” where I put notes, cards and other keepsakes that can quickly uplift my mood. I have also gotten into the habit of jotting anecdotal notes from the field.
Below is an excerpt from this past spring.
Monday night class: As I enter my college classroom full of pre-service teachers, I feel calm, optimistic, and relaxed. My students enter the classroom, open their journals and write something they are grateful for, and an affirmation. When they are done they know to stand and stretch, until we are all standing. Together we take four, focused breaths, and class begins.
Tuesday Field 9:00 AM: I’m in the field (a first-grade classroom at an elementary school), supervising my pre-service teachers. I hear one of my pre-service college students say to a 6-year-old boy who has tears in his eyes, “Let’s open your journal and write a sentence and draw something that you are grateful for?” The boy’s gloomy face relaxes just a bit and he asks, “Can I draw my mommy that I miss?” “Of course,” replies my student, “let’s take four breaths together as you draw.”
That’s called transfer of learning. Not memorizing, not recall, but application.
We usually never know how our actions and words will impact others. When we catch a glimpse, it’s confirmation that we are indeed making a difference.
This fall I’ll be teaching several workshops on the topic of Practicing Presence in the Classroom. Participants learn simple, mindfulness-based techniques to engage students and manage day-to-day stress. Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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