I’m surviving this year. It’s difficult at times, but we’re getting through it. But there’s a big way that I’m getting through most the difficulties that come with teaching in a public school.
So what am I doing? Well I’m meditating. And it’s helping a lot.
Now see, I don’t know what you picture in your head when you hear meditation. If you’re anything like me, you probably picture a person with their feet crossed, their palms up, and them saying “oooohhhhmmmm.” For a long time, that was what I thought of too. And that’s what I tried. And then I would be frustrated why that wouldn’t work for me.
The thing that I discovered that was wrong with that whole picture was what was going on in my head. When I tried to meditate that way, it was never told to guide my thoughts. I was just expected to have my mind totally clear. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think my mind has ever been clear since I’ve been alive. I have too many thoughts in my head at all the times. So having a clear mind wouldn’t work for me because my thoughts would intrude.
Because of that, I felt that meditation was pointless because I never felt more relaxed. It was so frustrating just to sit there and “relax” all the time while thinking of all the stuff in my head.
Recently though I was encouraged to give meditation a try and I was suggested to use an app called Insight Timer. And honestly? I use it every day (and no I was not paid to write this). But it’s not what you may think.
Most of the meditations I’ve used are guided. And there’s all kinds of options on there (whether spiritual, secular, New Age, or whatever else). One of the biggest things I’ve picked up is that it’s not about completely clearing your mind. It’s okay to have your thoughts drift. What matters though is focusing your thoughts back to what you’re meditating on. It’s not always about the position you’re in physically, but the headspace you’re in.
There have been times where I meditate as my students are doing their work. I’m still walking around and monitoring my students, but there are a number of times where I have been taking deeper breaths, doing a body scan of where I’m holding tension or just finding other ways to calm myself down.
I use that app (Insight Timer) every day. Meditating is helping me wake up, fall asleep, or just be better overall. It makes me a better teacher when things go terribly wrong in my classroom. I feel like it’s making me into a better person too. It’s pretty powerful.