School’s out for the summer! Today is officially day two of vacation and I am happy as can be. I love my job, but I also love the time that I can be away from it and spend time with my family. Last summer, my husband and I worked really hard to make our back deck a sanctuary where we could simply relax. It is my favorite place on earth in the summer. I love waking up early to sit outside and listen to the birds come alive and watch the sun rise.
Since starting my adventure in mindfulness, this is the place that I love to sit and listen to nature. It is the place that I do my best thinking and the place that has shown me the importance of unplugging and just being in the moment.
Being able to take time to be mindful has really made me think about why I am doing this. The peace and calm that I feel when I get to take this time has made me a happier, more content, and more productive person. That is exactly what I want for my students. I was having a conversation with another teacher just the other day where we were comparing our results of our final exams and what our SLO percentages would be. We were talking about the data that we had to collect for the year and how the students had shown growth. However, what struck me more than anything was that we were talking about our students in terms of numbers and data and not as kids. We were not talking about the tremendous issues that some of the students had faced throughout the school year and how they had grown as young adults. We were not talking about how some of the students had overcome fears and anxieties to hopefully go back home for the summer with tools that would help them to deal with all of the hurdles they would face in their homes. We were not talking about how these students that we had the pleasure of being with all year-long would be missed because we had seen them grow into kind and compassionate citizens. Instead, it was all about data and that made me very uncomfortable.
What this conversation did solidify in me is that teaching students about mindfulness is just as important as the math and science that we teach them as well. It allows them to grow as full human beings and not just ones that can spit out information on a test. After all, what good is it if a school is high performing in terms of data and testing, but the actual product is a bunch of stressed out and anxiety ridden kids? Will that performance be sustained throughout their lives? Will they be “successful” in life or just successful on tests?
I look forward to this summer as a time to do more research on mindfulness and as a time to put it more into practice in my own life. Step one..unplug!