The Group Mindset
There must be a technical term for the group mindset that develops with people of any age. In kids classes, usually a few kids will test the limits to see what is allowed. The rest of the kids watch and see and what’s allowed before joining in. If the classroom limits are not established early, you can have a whole group of kids acting out in the same way very quickly. Like what happened in the question Jennifer asked, where before class the kids are running around like crazy. Why? Because they can.
The Itsy Bitsy Spider in the Classroom
Here’s a real story from my kids yoga class this week. Picture six sweet girls in my community centre class. One girl (about 7 years old) went up to her water bottle beside the wall. Lo and behold… a tiny spider was on the floor crawling amidst the bottles. Before you know it every little girl was running around the room, flapping her arms and shrieking at the top of her powerful yoga lungs.
Group mentality has taken over the class.
Returning a Sense of Calm
This is when it may be tempting to get really annoyed and try to out-yell the girls. Hopefully if you’ve done your morning meditation you can resist! I find it most effective to start restoring the calm one child at a time. If you know who, choose the one who started it all.
Try one of the many ways to calm kids down: whisper, sing, or what I did, walk to the girl who first saw the spider and put my finger to my lips in the universal symbol for “ssshhhhh.” Don’t say anything – just make the gesture. These girls were squealing so loudly they wouldn’t have heard me anyway.
Soon the first girl stopped yelling and before you know it, the others did so they could hear what we were talking about.
The first girl started explaining that she saw a spider – even though we all knew this.
So I asked, “What shall we do with it?”
This got every one’s attention and the ideas were flowing – I’ll leave it up to you to imagine all of these. I quickly decided, without too much discussion, to get it on a piece of paper and release the tiny arachnid out the window. Everyone watched him spin a line down to the outside ledge.
Then with another, almost unnoticeable re-direct, back to the mats we go as I announce our next pose – you guessed it – spider pose (aka table).
Does the Rain Regret Falling?
Returning a sense of calm to the classroom requires a calm energy from the teacher. The teacher must stay calm yet completely solid and powerful even though they may feel like they are dampening the situation. Like the way rain falls on everyone without fear or reserve or regret. The rain helps the plants grow!
Its just another day teaching kids yoga, not a big deal, once you learn how to re-direct the energy no one really notices. Well, except maybe one being…
Does anyone know if spiders like snow?