Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Day 233 of 365: Beg, Steal, or Borrow

"I thank you for your time, and I thank you for your practice."

My favorite yoga teacher ends her classes like this. Last Sunday, I met with my yoga group to practice our very first practicum. For our next class, my group has to lead a 45-minute class, which each of us doing roughly 10 minutes a piece. I was assigned the last section of the class, partly because I can do the apex pose ("Elephant Trunk Pose", if you are so inclined to Google it) and partly because I'm shite at properly doing cooldown stretches in my own practice, so leading a class to cool down seemed like an appropriate challenge. I do my "Elephant Trunk Pose", I go through the various cooldown poses (where I was thinking the entire time, "Okay, one mississippi, two mississippi, three...") and get everything into savasana (aka "wahoo we can rest for a tick" pose). At the end of the practice, I do exactly what my yoga teacher does, thanking everyone (meaning my practicum group) for their time and their practice.

If there were ever just one takeaway from my time as a preschool teacher, it's that it's okay to beg, steal, or borrow, if it means serving your students better. As teachers, we were constantly sharing curriculum ideas, decorations, even toys and supplies. We'd see one teacher do a play on words and use it in our classroom. It was never a matter of "intellectual property" (because, let's be real, a good chunk of these great ideas were ciphered from teaching blogs, Pinterest, or teachers from other schools to begin with) because the main goal was not winning "Teacher of the Year" award, but inspiring our students.

During our 45-minute pseudo-class, one of my classmates incorporated a sequence that is essentially called "dancing warrior", where you shift from one warrior variation to the next in pace with your breath. That is something our favorite yoga teacher uses frequently, and I'm sure she learned that sequence from another teacher, who learned it from another, and so on, and so forth. Another classmate added in stuff he gleaned from his time as a TRX instructor. And yet another had printed out from the internet various ways to verbalize how to get into certain poses.

As a writer who gets very pissy when someone tries to jack her shit, I can say from firsthand experience how easy it is to fall into the, "What's mine is mine and only mine; what's yours is yours and only yours," mindset. And that's a necessary mindset in terms of things, like, say a short story, a novel, an essay, or even an article idea. If you wrote a song and suddenly you're hearing someone else sing it on stage, best believe the proverbial fur will fly. But, as a teacher, it's all about what you can gather from other teachers -- including your own teachers -- to inspire others, and, hey, maybe they'll take what you gave them and pass it on.

My husband's first grade teacher did a recipe book project, in which every kid attempted to make a "recipe" for their favorite food. The recipes were usually very silly, and involved directions like, "Mommy puts the cake into a bowl and then it's made." One of my last major projects with my Pre-K class involved making recipe books of that very nature. And while I quickly regretted spending so much time (and out-of-pocket money) making copy after copy of said book, I'm happy I did it. Because maybe, just maybe, one of those students will grow up and do that with their own children -- or their own classroom.

The same way I hope that someday one of my tai chi students -- or one of my hypothetical, future yoga students -- will take what they learned and apply it to their life, their spouse or children, or maybe even a class of their own. Maybe they'll take what I taught them about breathing, or redirection, or even chi, and maybe it makes them better able to do their job or handle a rough client.

Again, this falls into the "we are one interconnected system where one's actions constantly affect other people's actions" hippy-dippy granola category. But, oh well. This is my hippy-dippy granola, it makes me a better person, and hey, maybe someone can take a few ideas from this and make it their own.

No comments:

Post a Comment