Updated: Nov 18, 2019
Two years ago, I had that class.
You know the one I'm talking about, the one you dread, the one you contemplate getting a sub for...everyday. They were talkative and rowdy and difficult.
I had been playing around with the Headspace website and thought, "What do I have to lose?!" So I gave it a try.
Was it a 100% success, No!
I had students who wouldn't even attempt the meditation, made noises, and poked their neighbors.
However, I noticed right away the classroom was a little quieter that day.
So that got me thinking, if just listening to the meditation without actually doing it still helped the class feel calmer, maybe I was on the right track.
The next day we tried it again, but I asked the class to do a few things to help them be successful:
Make sure your cell phones, writing utensils, and papers are in your backpack.
Place your backpack on the floor or on the back of your chair.
Show me your meditation posture (the Headspace recommended posture is to sit up straight, put your hands in your laps, feet on the floor).
Please try and close your eyes during the meditation. I told them, "Just give it a try, if it feels too uncomfortable for you that's ok! You can look down at your toes." Eyes on the ground is a huge key to success.
We will only be meditating for three minutes today, I know you guys could do longer, but three minutes should be a piece of cake! (I wasn't at all convinced it would be a piece of cake, but again... what did I have to lose?!)
Was it a 100% success on day two? No! Not even with all of these directions.
But participation was better. I knew I was missing something, so the next day I tried one more thing. I asked them to do all 5 of the previous things and I made one change.
Instead of sitting at my teacher desk, I sat at an empty student desk as far back in the room as was available, and modeled how I expected them to meditate. SUCCESS!!!
The Secret to Successful Classroom Meditation was sitting among the class and modeling appropriate meditation. It was so great!!! I made sure to take a moment after to ask the class about how they felt. Some responses I received were:
"I feel calmer"
"I feel tired"
"I'm more relaxed"
"I feel less stressed"
Those are some pretty impressive responses, right!?
By just taking a few minutes at the beginning of class you too can have a calmer, less talkative, and more productive classroom. Give it a try, what do you have to lose? ;)
***UPDATE: I am trying something new...I am choosing a different student each day to lead the next day's meditation. They get to choose whatever meditation practice they want to share with the class...it's been awesome! I am definitely getting more buy-in from the students.
Have you tried meditation or mindfulness practices with your students? What were your success and what didn't go so well? Please log in and comment, we would love to hear from you!