Make a Difference in the Life of a Child
Let’s also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child’s success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom. In South Korea, teachers are known as “nation builders.” Here in America, it’s time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect. We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones. And over the next ten years, with so many Baby Boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.
In fact, to every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child – become a teacher. Your country needs you.
I was thrilled to hear teachers being acknowledged by President Obama in the State of the Union address last week. If you want to make a difference in the life of a child – become a teacher. As a kids yoga teacher and a trainer of new kids yoga teachers “making a difference” is a big part of what motivates me.
A Good Teacher Cares
Teaching can be a tough job. Teaching kids can be very repetitive, at times exhausting, and challenging to truly connect with every child. You’ve got to put your heart and soul into it to do it well.
Reflecting on the ways you make a difference in the life of a child can help teachers stay motivated. Here are a couple of things that have touched me as a teacher. I’d love you to leave a comment about how you’ve made a difference in the life of a child. Whether you are a parent or teacher, how do you know you’re making a difference? What helps you stay motivated? Let’s inspire each other today.
The First Time I Felt I Made a Difference
The first time I felt I was making a difference came in 1999 soon after I started teaching. One day a mom pulled me aside at the end of the kids yoga class at our local studio. Her six year old son was a regular in my class.
She had walked by her son’s bedroom and saw him sitting on the bed, eyes closed, hands by his heart. When she popped her head in, he explained he was doing a meditation to get rid of sad thoughts.
That’s when the tears welled up in her eyes and she thanked me for the yoga class, it was making a difference. She and her husband were getting divorced and things were rocky at her home. In fact, this was her second divorce; she had divorced her son’s father when he was two. This was not the family life she imagined for her son, but it was happening. She was so grateful that her son had a way to deal with the stress.
I knew yoga was powerful, but in that moment I was grateful to be a teacher and to pass on these gifts.
The next example is from yesterday.
Making a Difference Means The Kids Have Learned
We’re half way through the school year, and I’ve been doing weekly yoga classes for about five months. Usually after Christmas holidays the kids show they are ready for more real yoga and I begin to increase the silent breaks in the class. We trim down the music and pretending, and increase the time between the exercises, to experience the peace of sitting in silence, eyes closed, breathing relaxed. Yesterday half the kids in my pre-school class, ages two to six years old, were able to close their eyes for more than thirty seconds.
During one break I said to the kids, “When your eyes are open you can look outside, when your eyes are closed you can look inside.”
Then one four year piped up from the circle, as kids are prone to do, “You look inside with your Third Eye.”
This child demonstrated his growing yoga vocabulary. He can voice his understanding of the yoga tools which means he has internalized them, and like the other boy, can do them on his own.
Both these examples make a difference to me as a teacher because I know these children now have tools and a vocabulary to assist them to deal with stress and to find peace. When the President of the United States says that teachers build a nation, it is because good teachers equip children for a lifetime, not just for one class.
So if you want to make a difference in the life of a child, the nation, and your own life – become a teacher.
You’re invited to leave a comment and share what helps you stay motivated as a parent or teacher.
Barak Obama Special
The next Young Yoga Master’s Kids Yoga Teacher Training is next weekend in Toronto Canada. We’ve got about four spots left before the course is full. In honor of Barak Obama’s speach, I’m extending the early registration deadline until the end of Wednesday, February 2, 2010. You can get the full course details and register here: Young Yoga Masters – Kids Yoga Teacher Training. Join us for an inspiring weekend and bring the gift of yoga to children. Register today.