Tag Archives: B4Peace

Week 19: Calm & Peace

The completion of week 19 feels momentous. 40 weeks in a school year. Practically half way done. In a blink, fifth grade will be over and I’ll be starting again with a room full of fourth graders.

Week 19 is 2013. As one apologetic behavior letter from a student reminded me, it’s a fresh start. It’s the frozen activities field beneath a thin blanket of fog and the backdrop of a rising sun, that one forgotten soccer ball settling into the icy mud. It’s smiling faces and getting called Mrs. Mac by that one kid who never opened up until now… Mrs. Mac, a softer, truncated nickname filled with more love than I can communicate.

It’s four kids receiving random acts of kindness, confused hugs for the extra attention. It’s my principal walking in to observe in the first hour on the first day back at school and me smiling unapologetically at the imperfection in my room, pure embrace of sleepy kids and calm.

It’s book reports that have blown me away. The girl with the purple guitar. The boy whose name should be Maniac Magee, who pretended to be the protagonist in Spiderwick Chronicles, much to the delight of all the other kids. Fifteen minutes of wild impersonation, jokes, energy, charisma. A cheer he taught the class, tugging on both ears, “Boggarts, boggarts, boggarts!” His joy in success and fame.

It’s also the intervention teacher’s compliment that I seemed so at peace watching his sometimes frenetic performance, a room of 29 other kids just seconds from bouncing off the walls. That edge where control could be lost, me more calm and centered than ever before. A friend who visited just in time to walk through all the other classrooms and take a peak at all the book report creations, recognizing the strength in my patience, sharing her grad school stories with my kids.

Week 19 gives me hope. Hope I can be calm almost all the time. Hope all this yoga and meditation are paying off. Hope I have found a sweet spot in my love and knowledge of my students. Week 19 is peace.


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Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It’s Back to Work I Go!

I know as a teacher I should be the last person to complain to go back to work. I get breaks and I mostly like my job. Not such a bad life. Still, each time a break comes to a close, I go through a brief funk. It’s hard to let go of the time to write, to do yoga, to sleep, to see friends and family… It requires a shift in my brain to my other self.

Today I went back to work, the kids follow tomorrow. This evening I continued my longest consecutive string of yoga ever. I have been doing yoga everyday for a couple weeks and I am finally beginning to see why instructors encourage this– I feel amazing and am able to do more than I ever have been in the past, (even when I was doing 3-4 days of yoga/week). I share this now in hopes it helps to keep me dedicated. A little reminder to my future self.

I could never bring myself to invest the time or money to go to a yoga studio daily, (especially since most classes are 90 minutes and just getting there/home adds another 30 minutes to my day). However, I recently discovered that watching yoga on Hulu Plus is actually pretty productive, (even if the ads and cheese factor can be annoying). It is the missing piece I needed to break up my studio visits and a nice change of pace from the routines in books.

Coming home to yoga this evening, I realized there really are ways to make life feel more balanced and better after work. Now it’s time for a little tech-free quiet as the last ingredient to my evening… Tomorrow, kiddos, day one of my peace project, and some more yoga!

Student #8 has a happy note waiting on her desk for her day as my secret student.

Student #8 has a happy note waiting on her desk for her day as my secret student.

My room is ready for a new year and 30 happy kiddos.

My room is ready for a new year and 30 energetic kiddos.

And, you get to see my cat play with a toy whale because she's cute...

And, you get to see my cat play with a toy whale because she’s cute and we know she loves yoga too… yes, still.

Happy balanced Monday!

Happy balanced Monday!

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Bloggers for Peace: Daily Acts of Kindness

One of my favorite bloggers, Kozo over at Everyday Gurus, recently started a group called Bloggers for Peace. The first challenge, pick a daily or weekly act of kindness for January and blog about it. I knew instantly what I needed to do.

All kids need love and special attention, but the reality is that in a room full of 30 students, some receive more than others. For my daily act of kindness, I am going to pick a different kid each day to go out of my way to make feel special. An instructional coach suggested I do this with my most behaviorally challenging kids, but I want to take it a step further and include all my students. Even the most outspoken could use a little extra love, and it has always bothered me that the quietest students go less noticed, especially if they do not act out or struggle academically.

So, each day in January, I will pick one student to quietly receive my attention. At a minimum, I will:

1. Write him/her a kind note, (this may be small, but I often notice that students keep my little notes in their pencil boxes or taped to the corner of their desks for months).

2. I ask students I see before school, “What is one good thing about today?” I will ask my student of the day this question because it forces students to be grateful and see their lives through a different lens. Often they shrug when I ask this question, but then we talk and they end up smiling as they realize they ate breakfast, hugged their dad goodbye, or have a nice warm place to come to school. One of my students now runs up to me every morning to tell me his one good thing. I want to make sure every student in my class reflects on this question at least once and gets more one-on-one conversation/attention for the day.

So, there you have it. 30 students means my little acts of kindness will carry me through to February, but it is a worthy cause and one I have been wanting to pursue for months. I already have a husky of the day who gets to help out, but I like that this will be a quieter, unexpected source of kindness. We go back to school January 8, so I will start with student number 8 and work my way through.

Hope you join Bloggers for Peace and find your own way to do something kind in January! I’ll report back on how my little experiment turns out.

Proof I won't forget. Post-it on my work laptop.

Proof I won’t forget. Post-it on my work laptop.

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