Finding the Light
When I first started teaching over 10 years ago, I was surprised to realize that one of the most challenging things about children’s classes is managing the group. Now I know that this is a key skill required to work with kids.
My teacher always quotes a great Roman, Cicero,
To teach children takes vigilance.
In one class is a little boy who I often find sitting in the hallway when I arrive. There are constant power struggles between him and the teachers for the class’ attention. He interrupts often and distracts the other children. It can be very frustrating.
Whenever I find myself thinking about a student or a class at home it tells me it is time for a new approach. To have a fun and smooth class and to appreciate and connect with the students requires knowing when to change gears. The time had come in this class and one of the easiest ways to make a change is to go back to the positives in our relationship to draw on for help.
With this relationship I kept coming up empty. I couldn’t remember any positive interactions with this boy recently. So my goal was to leave the class this week with one good interaction with him.
When I got to his class I found I had left my yoga mat in the other room. Immediately the boy I was thinking of jumped up blurting out, “I’ll go get it for you.”
His teacher told him to sit down, and I momentarily felt frustrated that he was talking out of turn again. Then I realized that he had actually made a kind offer to help me. It was the first thing that happened in the class!
I saw my opportunity to make the connection that I wanted – and it was a sincere appreciation of his kindness. It was up to me to appreciate it.
I looked him in the eye and thanked him for offering to help me, something in me changed, and so did something in him.
I wish I could say that from that moment on there were no more problems, in fact there were, but with that positive connection they weren’t as hard. To keep that class running smoothly takes eternal vigilance, in yoga it is called sadhana, and that is my joy as a kids yoga teacher.
I’d love to hear your comments on the ways you’ve dealt with these kinds of frustrating situations. Feel free to post here or in the discussion group in the kid’s yoga group on facebook.
Aruna Kathy Humphrys
© K. Humphrys