Sunday, 28 August 2011
Yoga Sparks Mosquito Bites?
Today a mosquito landed on my arm and I noticed it. I mean of course I noticed it but instead of reacting to it and slapping it away or even gently blowing it off I just watched. It was kinda neat, she actually got pretty comfortable and dug in a little deeper and then moved on down and dug into another spot, three times she did this and then… I tried to blow her away. Didn’t work, so I gently nudged her with my fingertip off of my arm. Hee, hee, okay, why did I suddenly have the overwhelming need to get her off my arm, I got scared. Really Amy, scared of a mosquito, but yeah, I started thinking, “What if I get West Nile? What if this mosquito bite is intolerable?” And so on…. I was not present in that moment anymore.
Why am I writing about mosquitoes? Well it occurred to me that this is very similar to teaching children. Okay, I realize that this sounds like I’m comparing children to an insect that most people would describe as annoying, but that’s not my intent. As some of you may know one of the programs that I draw from for my classroom management is Love and Logic. One of the main concepts in Love and Logic is:
Powerful teachers allow their students to solve problems in ways that do not create additional problems for anyone on the planet.
Smart teachers step in only when a student’s problem…or solution…is likely to cause lasting harm to the student or others.
It occurs to me that essentially this is the same thing as watching a mosquito. Sometimes it’s really hard to watch students try to solve their own problems. Our ego or fear can get in the way. It can be hard to watch a child choose a solution you wouldn’t have chosen. It can be hard to watch a child make a mistake. It can be hard to watch a child feel disappointment. And if I am being truly sincere, sometimes my ego can even find it hard to see a child succeed if it wasn’t something that I had something to do with. Ego thoughts such as, “Maybe I’m not doing my job, maybe I’m not needed anymore, maybe other people will think that this child’s mistake is my fault, ” come to mind.
After the mosquito bit me and I let fear in and nudged her away, it was equally hard to not give into the new itch. Today though I chose to sit with this itch and see what happened. Was I going to die because I didn’t scratch the little bite? Was it going to be intolerable? As I sit here typing I still haven’t scratched it, I do however keep looking at it, seeing how it’s changing, seeing what an unscratched mosquito bite looks like. I’m fairly certain that I have never before had an unscratched mosquito bite, I have the tendency to not stop scratching, not caring if it itches more because then I can just scratch it more anyways and the bites almost always turn into big ugly inflamed masses that end up looking like I’m allergic to mosquitoes.
Spark! I can’t even see the bite anymore and it does not itch anymore. The more I can stay present in each moment of my students’ actions, the less likely I will be to react. The less likely I will feel a need to rescue students from their lessons. My job is to allow students to find their own power even if it makes my ego itch. Yoga sparks allowance.
What does yoga spark in you? Has your yoga practice sparked anything in your classroom management? Write to me and let me know, I’d love to hear, firstname.lastname@example.org .