What’s a little Stress?

Yes! I’m happy and grateful that I’ve incorporated meditation into my school time as well as into my morning at home.

Yes! I’m pleased that I’m more able to notice when I’m stressed and able to breathe out when I feel it!

and uh huh! I’m better off knowing than not.

However…

when things start to pile up, and to do lists birth new lists

and other missions get added onto the already bulging lists

then…

stress happens.

sleep is less available

and meditation time is more devoted to getting back to base line.

And so my question: what do you do?

Do you grab the time to dance? To let loose. Let your body respond to the music? Take me with you!

Do you take a short jog in open green fields? Let the breeze accompany you. Your body and breath together in a rhythmic beat? Send me a postcard!

Do you wander orange groves, smelling blossoms and fresh earth, contemplating the basic truth of how life includes doing nothing in particular but being? That’s my choice. That’s what I need more of. That’s what I’ll do today.

orange blossoms with thanks to the photographer
orange blossoms with thanks to the photographer

All this before tomorrow sneaks in to offer more of the  afore-mentioned to do lists (of which I shall not think)

Wishing us all a delicious present moment and a joyful spring.

May the orange blossoms call one and all to pause and drink in the beauty of the present moment.

this week in a teacher’s life

A week that was.

As much as I long for last year’s half-Sabbatical and time to post in blogs, interview poets and study, I know that the demands of full-time (and more than full-time) teaching require every ounce of my cool.

I need to start the day with meditation and then refresh that state a few times a day.

I often apply critically timed doses of t’ai chi to re-centre.

and i need to ‘be here now’ when the going gets tough.

So, 14 Special Ed students in the 7th grade require head-on love and patience while organization would really help the scene. Each one works at a different rate. Each one demands one to one attention and the next workpage in a series of endless workpages.

Each one requires a number, a grade, upon each workpage. my cup runneth over.

There are those who are fully medicated and perhaps have been for several years. This is apparent only when those students arrive without medication and apparently no clue as to how to sift out extraneous distractions (or those that come from their own fertile minds). Again, i see the sad truth that upon the first sign of jumpiness, or impulsive blurting, these children have been carted off to a neurologist in order to attain a prescription remedy.

There are other ways to work on focus! And i’m beginning to see that i must not divert my own focus on sharing those methods.

My thesis prepared with Pnina Medan and Dvora Teboul back in 2003, How the Arts Focus students with ADHD, was based on optimism as well as experimentation showing that using the arts in class can focus attention and awaken self-pride.

Alas, this must be done.

……

okay. How about the story of G, 9th grade. G is an aggressive, sneering but likable entity. G’s never really conquered the English alphabet and so when G was at risk of being shuffled off to a larger, more advanced Special Ed class, he and I both felt his pain. I offered to teach him a few hours a week and work from the beginning. He even requested it.

So we’ve begun. And our second lesson transpired. This time, G brought his own focusing technique. Apparently, he’s invented an online form of poker that requires his dedicated attention every few minutes in order to supervise the game.

This he reported to me and begged my indulgence (or words to that effect). I could only look at the respectful way he mentioned this (a long cry from his past behaviour of sneering, claims of being disrespected, and walking out of the class), and agree. Together with the first melodic sounds  of  ‘a’, ‘t’ and ‘m’ he deftly managed the poker tournaments going on in various locations.

Alternate focus technique at its prime.

And so, linear life takes on non-linear directions.

More art, less medication. More breathing exercises, less dependence on a pill. From my heart to reality. May it be.

shalom from judih

Emergency Teacher Therapy: A Teacher’s Diary

I didn’t wanna do it.

Really.

I believe in discretion and sublimation and all those other forms of swallowing the impressions offered in overflowing cup quantitities.

But. I can’t do it. I need to spill.

October 7, 2011

It’s been another week. Highlights: 2 students begged me to teach them, let them learn. I loved it! Thank you S of Grade 11 and O of Grade 9.

to G of Grade 8 – it was nice to have you and sorry to see you promoted to a higher class. That’s how the cookie crumbles and besides, I’m off sugar.

Lowlights:

The joy of a student bringing clear nail polish to class. Opening the bottle releasing an initial stink and then proceeding to paint the desk of another student, a student who’s obsessive compulsive and can’t bear any flaw on his writing surfaces.

The polish was promised to be buried away in the backpack of the offender, but no. Surreptiously, the fluid was painted upon a piece of paper. Paper was solemnly thrown into the garbage bin.

The birthday balloons hovering in the classroom had to be burst. Then the mess had to be swept up.  The cleanup was conducted by G, a student known for his utter lack of self-control and his propensity for aggression. No problem. None. Until… Z showed up at the door of the classroom, cursed G in a discrete whisper and found himself clobbered over the head with the nail polished piece of paper – still wet, still dangerous and still “applicable”

G then warned me, his teacher, not to rat him out, but within 2 seconds, G found it necessary to chase R, the nail-polishing student, and wrap him in a deadly headlock.

One lesson. One more lesson in a continuing series of end-of-the-week absurdities in the history of this particular class.

It’s true. I haven’t reported the previous weeks.

I must.

I’ll let it out.

First week.

R required white-out fluid. I refused him. A fellow student lent it to him. Within seconds, R uttered in surprise: OH! as he watched flames dancing merrily from a piece of ignited paper.

Next week.

A found it necessary to dry-hump the doorframe of the classroom. After being admonished to cease and desist, he continued to vibrate throughout the lesson until he decided to engage G (yes, the infamous G) in boyish repertoire.  Fists soon appeared and this teacher deciding against standing between the two called in reinforcements.

that’s all i’m gonna say. Oh except….

the episodes where the students decided to pull out their rulers to measure their ears. (thank god only ears, i thought)…. or to compare underarm hair (thank god only underarm air,  others commented when i reported this)

This particular class has no female students (the only one fled in terror after the first lesson).

this teacher is utterly happy that we are now on a 2 week break.

may she rest and nurse her headache and nausea – is it the odour of 800,000 new chicks being bred in the spanking new chickenhouses conveniently located right outside the kibbutz and unavoidably positioned between her and the rest of the country?

no photos of the nausea nor of the aforementioned incidents.

I did manage to photograph a class of Grade 7 kids into silence, but i’m forbidden from publishing their cherubic faces.

have a good day.