Mindfulness with middle school

“…give us understanding in our hearts to listen, learn, and teach.” – Ahavat Olam

In addition to spending my school day with your beautiful JrK children, for the last quarter I have led a mindfulness class during the middle school tefillah elective. Our last class was today and I asked each of my students to reflect on their learning.  The first thought I had during my reflection is that I am definitely meant to be a kindergarten teacher!  But, moving past what I think I already knew, I can go a little deeper.  I am very comfortable teaching kindergarten.  Middle school made me a little uncomfortable. Not the best feeling to head into a mindfulness class with. After reading the reflections of my students, I learned what each felt  was meaningful or not meaningful to them.  I discovered that what was meaningful to me was having to push myself through something that did not feel completely natural to me and how I was going to respond to those feelings. It reminded me how my students might feel when learning a new skill, or being challenged at school.  I had to own those mistakes I made while teaching, especially as they stared back at me on the evaluation sheets. It was good to have time to be aware of these feelings and how I was going to move forward with them. Would I take it personally or would I use these feelings to grow? It reminded me of the prayer, above, taken from the Ahavat Olam, the prayer before The Shema. Throughout this tefillah elective, I had to listen to new students, to learn from them about myself, and ultimately to teach them about mindfulness. This holy combination made me more mindful, and more in touch with how I view myself as a teacher, but also as a person on a continuing journey of learning.  So, this middle school tefillah elective actually became a time of tefillah for me. Thank you , to my middle school students who trusted in me and treated me kindly, even in their feedback, and who helped me remember what it feels like to not only teach but to learn. Sat Nam.

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