‘Please put that back where you found it, hurry up and get back into line,’ words shouted to a 6 year old child in a school I was teaching in a while ago. The little girl had a ladybird in the palm of her hand and was showing it to a friend. She set the ladybird free and lined up in the straight line with all the other children.
‘Miss, the elephant’
A teaching mentor once advised me ‘Don’t be the teacher who misses the elephant walking past the classroom’
When I was teaching in Tanzania, we often had monkeys visiting the classroom, no matter how many times they came in to steal crumbs from the floor the kids got distracted and excited. At the time, I was also studying to ‘BE’ a mindfulness teacher and completing a yoga teaching course, so despite feeling irritated, I reminded myself to be present with the experience, have a beginners mind with the visits and to see them through the children’s fresh curious eyes!
The children also used to love the large birds that perched on the telephone wires outside and sometimes we’d all just stand by the windows watching them. We’d find out what they were called, researching the photos in our small collection of bird spotting books and of course if the electricity and internet were working we’d use google.
Lessons From the Ladybird
After the ladybird was set free, I went back to class to tell my children about it and found out what they knew about them. We looked at photos online of different ladybirds, found out where they lived, counted the different spots and introduced the word symmetry, little children love big words and there’s so many avenues still to explore. We added this learning to the slug, snails and power ranger interest zone.
Often I talk with the children about their busy monkey minds, and teach them ways to settle and calm ourselves, largely because I ‘need’ them to be quiet on the carpet. Kids are naturally curious, playful and present, are we teaching them to be busy, distracted and stressed?
I Missed the Elephant
Whilst typing this I forgot to pay attention, the birds have been singing outside all the while and I didn’t notice – I missed the elephant.
Seize the day.
A PLAYce to BE
I facilitate a monthly PLAYce to BE and the next one is Saturday April 28th venue tbc, usually it’s at Clandon Wood near Guildford in Surrey or somewhere equally peacefully. Why not come along and take a couple of hours out to just BE. Info here.
If you would like me to come and talk to your organisation about simple ways to get present, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org.