Saturday, August 11, 2012


Friday morning I go to work, prepare the room and myself so I can do a small meditation session with each of my classes.  They're up for it, I've been preparing them all week so they could be able to sit for at least 7 or 8 minutes without talking or moving, and focusing on their breath.

I explain the concept and what we do, and everyone was ready to go.  So I turn out the lights, and we begin.  - Find a comfortable seat, relax your body, feel your breath...all that.  Close your eyes and just notice.   Notice the sounds, notice the temperature.... good... all that is happening.

No one is laughing, shifting, making sounds. It's going well.  Then about 6 minutes in (which can seem like a really long time if you're meditating or a teenager, the FIRE ALARM goes off!

And I just think to myself - typical.  So very typical.  I almost start laughing, but I maintain composer.  The kids kind of just look at me like, "What's going on?"  So I tell them they have to line up, the staff tells them to line up, and they just go.  No talking, no attitude.

It works!  This is the best I'd ever seen any kids line up for a fire drill!.

The funny thing is, it just happened to interrupt meditation.  If it's not one thing, it's the other.

It was a challenge to do this with my students in all the classes.  Countless interruptions by adults coming in and out of my room.  DO YOU NOT SEE WHAT WE'RE DOING HERE?  I mean come on adults--- grow a brain?  It's like it's completely unfathomable that this would actually be good for you too!  I mean, I know they have to keep an eye on the kids, and be safe.  However, why are you trying to ruin the experience for the students?

It's the mentality that kids who are in correctional facilities don't have rights! They don't have a right to education, or knowledge.  They don't even realize that creative outlets, yoga, and meditation have a profound effect on the brain.  It has a huge effect on behavior, stress, and anger.  One of the things that I reminded the students about is that this is in their control.  They already feel like the lost control in many other ways.  But they have control of their bodies, their breath and their mind!

So, this week has been full of those little lessons.  And they're lessons to me too, because I've let myself get upset about some things that have happened in my classroom--- which wasn't student related.  It's a fact of where I work.  And it won't ever change.  I am constantly reminded that the D-home's job isn't to rehabilitate, care, or encourage.  It's too inflict consequences in a very irregular way.  It's a holding tank until they leave and come back again.

Until this attitude changes, our kids will gain nothing.

I guess what I worry about is that, I try to maintain consistency in everything.  I work really hard to make that happen in my classroom, but the truth is-- it doesn't happen.  And I have to let it go.  I can only show up and offer what I have to give, and hopefully, most days I can succeed in trying to give my students an environment where it is safe.  Safe to think, safe to create, and safe to let their guard down.

When that happens, it's the best day.

It's sad to say that our typical days are full of interruptions.  There is no way we can combat that.  However, if there are always going to be interruptions, can't we trying make them in more of a consistent respectful way?

Like knocking, or asking the teacher first... not just calling out.  "Johnson, we need Johnson, right now".    How about taking a little more time and saying at least,"  Excuse me, Ms. Fitz, we need to take Johnson."

Anyway, I'm hoping that this week has been my reintroduction into d-home life, and I'll be back to just letting it roll off my shoulders.  I have to remember that I can let it go.  Too bad that seems typical too.

No comments: