"I Am Peace": What Mindfulness Can Do for an Anxious Personality in Educational Management
This is a book for my son. But it's also a book for me.
We read this almost every morning, a little reminder about how to ground yourself when you feel anxious or "like a boat with no anchor." It's written by Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds does amazing illustrations inside.
My son says "peace!" and touches the pictures of the birds. He also says "tar!" when he sees the guitar, and "tree!" when they talk about connecting to nature.
I am not the best teacher in the world, partially because I have been allowed zero time for PD in my life, but also because I teach a high-stress form of art that can make or break kids. There needs to be time for stretching, thinking, grounding yourself, games, activities, and hands-on learning projects, but there also needs to be time for real performance practice (long and frustrating), learning details (tedious) and observation (boring). There is a lot of nuance that goes into making kids like it enough to stick around until they are developmentally ready to learn and be good. Some days I am up to the challenge, some days I am just not.
Except that this is where anxiety comes in and lies to you, because yesterday was a VERY good day. I made kids laugh, I got lots of hugs, I smiled the whole day, and I felt relaxed. Briefly losing my cool once because 6-year-olds are frustrating is not the end of the world. And yet...
Today I will hug that frustrating six-year-old. We will come to an understanding and we will be friends. And when I chat with the parents, they will confirm that they placed this frustrating six-year-old in theatre camp, it's because they, too, were frustrated, and they get it.
And we will break up the day a little differently based on feedback and a literal wealth of experience, and we will make a grand effort to keep everybody in line with each other and up to speed, and we will throw ourselves against the wall with a smile if that's what makes that one child finally grow up just a very little bit and hold on to a lesson in responsibility, or be a step further towards performance-capable, or remember to bring out the same script, pencil and water bottle that they brought in. Because everybody is there in order to (and able to) learn: but not everybody is going to come out having learned the same thing.
So screw you, anxiety. "I feel the ground beneath my feet and steady myself, and start to notice the HERE and the NOW. My thoughts begin to settle. My mind begins to clear. I am Peace." -S. Verde
And in case there was confusion about whether or not anxiety is going to get me down today...
Take that, anxiety.