We are coming towards the end of the year, Districts are sending out plans, metrics, and expectations for the coming year. Oftentimes, without enough discussion and recognition that this Fall will be one unlike previous years . . . and we don't really know what to expect. Teachers are tired. It's been a trying year. There's hope on the horizon with the coronavirus vaccine and social groupings and businesses coming to life again. But COVID left its mark on us, and has on our students. Many students have fallen behind without the support of in person teachers and friends. Some have witnessed frightening illness, or have lost a loved one. We need to allow ourselves to unwind so we can be there for our students.
In this session, the first of a 3 part series, Amy Edelstein will explore this foreign landscape and set up some good habits to help you unwind over the summer and be restored and grounded come September.
The Conscious Classroom podcast brings mindfulness, social emotional learning tools, principles from positive psychology and systems thinking to help you build more awake and aware classrooms and activate students' natural inclination towards learning and care.
Welcome to the conscious classroom podcast where we're exploring tools and perspectives that support educators and anyone who works with teens to create more conscious. And enriching learning environments. I'm your host, Amy Edelstein, and I'll be sharing transformative insights and easy to implement classroom supports that are all drawn from mindful awareness and systems thinking the themes we'll discuss are designed to improve your own joy and fulfillment in your work and increase your impact on the world we share.
Let's get on with this next episode.
Hello, welcome to the conscious classroom. My name is Amy Edelstein. The next three sessions. We're going to talk about back to school, post pandemic. What does it mean? What are we preparing ourselves for and how do we prepare ourselves for a very uncertain. For a student body that we're not sure what they've been experiencing, but we can imagine for our colleagues, We've seen them online and we're going to find out how they're really doing and our own stress and readjustment going back to school, there's a lot to take in, as I've talked with many of my teacher colleagues.
What I've heard is that many of the districts are planning back to school and disseminating materials for the summer and expectations for the fall that are as if it were, it was business as usual. Which we know it's not, not really taking into account the tremendous upheaval. We've all experienced this year due to the pandemic and the kind of adjustment we're going to have to make room for in ourselves.
And in our classrooms, we need to face things as they are in order to prepare ourselves. We need to be real about whatever we're experiencing, what we imagine our students are experiencing and the challenges and disruptions that that might bring into the school year for ourselves. Most of us have been working from home teaching online, doing hybrid teaching.
There have been pros and cons. Many of the teachers I know, found it overwhelming to manage their own children's education as well as teach, but they also loved being with them. And the adjustment of going back to school with longer commutes, unable to adjust high-five their children. In between classes, see them for lunch, bring some sadness and bring some adjustment.
Allow that to be that's a part of the human experience. That's part of what the adjustment is going to demand. And of course, there are many advantages to being back with our colleagues in our workspace, where we're not trying to merge home in school all the time with the pressures that that brings and feeling like we're coming up short on both ways.
We also have to start thinking about what our students may be bringing with them. Many of them. I have expressed to me that they don't really want to go back to school. Cause they have a lot of social anxiety. Others may have be feeling very disappointed with themselves because without the structure of school and teachers and friends, reminding them what to do, they've let their good habits.
They weren't doing the homework the way they used to. They weren't studying the way they like to. They weren't learning, they weren't accomplishing and they may feel a lot of shame and embarrassment. And they're bringing that back into school with a lot of self doubt. And how are we going to reengage them with the school process?
Other students and colleagues or ourselves may be experiencing grief due to loss the death of a family member of neighbor, a close friend from the pandemic. And that's that takes time. Grief has its own way of winding through. And we may see our students having a hard time connecting with the world around them, finding motivation, feeling inspiration.
There's a lot to think about with inviting our students back. Into the classroom, acknowledging where they are giving them support and space and continuing with the education process. We're whole people as teachers and as students, we're not just the learning machine. And then the personal machine we're hope people that whole person needs to unwind.
That whole person needs space to be that whole person needs an environment that recognizes that healing is necessary. It's a priority. It's part of what we can learn from this series that I'm going to do really offers some practical ways to set up your classes. And ways to work with your students and also really emphasizes the importance of you taking the time to unwind the summer, really figuring out what will help you with your own self care.
Really allowing yourself to build that personal time. Will you have some space and time on your own just to be, and to see what's happening, to allow yourself to sit and be aware, being mindful, open your attention, open possibility and make space, make space for. Feelings, you might not be aware of make space for the way that concern might have lodged in your body, make space for all of that to unwind so that you can process and metabolize the challenges of the past year in a healthy way in gain in wisdom and compassion.
And then you'll be bringing so much care, so much depth. So, so much skill for mean, we need to learn how to create space for processing and the skill for means to do that comes really from the depth of our own experience. When we allow ourselves to process, we allow ourselves to unwell. We can then apply all kinds of techniques, whether it's mindful awareness, whether it's journaling, whether it's art, whether it's musical transitions, inviting students into the class or playing music to let them leave your classroom and peace and move on creating community, creating smaller modules in a classroom.
So students don't get lost. So they have that support where they're not invisible, but they're not invaded in their space. We're going to figure out how to do those by letting ourselves metabolize digest process, the experience that we've had, not necessarily by dwelling on it or revisiting or thinking it through.
But by allowing ourselves to be and see what emerges.
So let's think about some habits that you can put into place to allow yourself to do that
every day or maybe several times a week. Choose some time where you can just be on your own, where you can sit in the park or take your journal to your backyard, or have a quiet place in your home where you can sit undisturbed for at least 15 minutes.
If you're a journaler, bring your journal. I recommend writing as a way to allow things that we don't notice around on our minds to come into consciousness, come into our awareness
and begin with a short body scan. We you're seated and notice the sensations in your body from head to toe.
Draw your breath in and let your breath out. Draw your breath in and let your breath out.
Draw your breath in and let your breath out.
And allow yourself to unwind what's there not your ideas and plans and lists and that sense of forcefulness, but that sense of deep trust that if you allow. Your whole system will be able to write itself. If you allow yourself to be, you can access a quality of awareness that is rejuvenating and nourishing and fulfilling.
Let's take a few moments. In silence right now to allow yourself to be
you can use the breath,
drawing it in and letting it out.
now that you have a sense of what it is to allow yourself to simply be. Let's talk a little bit about why that is so nourishing and rejuvenating. It's different than sitting and doing nothing it's different than sitting in boredom and it's different than, working out a problem or a worry that's on your mind when you allow yourself to be, and you give yourself room to unwind, what's actually happening as you're expanding your field of awareness.
You're taking in, qualities and signs that come from your sense of your body. What's resting. They're not just physical aches and pains, but the way emotion rests in the body, the way world events, rest heavy on our shoulders or. And we also allow our consciousness to open up. And when our co we allow our consciousness to open up, we're experiencing our own, our own experience of being awakened alive right now.
And the way that our experience of being alive is ha. In that sense of the whole field of life. So just like the earth is held in the vast, cosmos and all the other planets and stars and moons and sons are held in that same vast cosmos our experience of being alive. That awareness, that sense of conscious awareness is also being held
in this vast field of awakeness and awareness. We sit quietly when we allow our breath to go in and out, when we allow ourselves to unwind what's on our minds, we are also. Doing that in a way that connects us with a broader sense of shared awareness. We're not on our own. When we sit in this way, that's one of the paradoxes of mindful awareness.
When we sit and reflect in that way, we start to feel that sense. Of being held, not being isolated
when we're unwinding challenging years, like the school year has been, we want to feel that sense of support, but we also want to be allowed to work out, our whole experience. In the intimacy and privacy of time with ourselves. Now, if, when you start developing and practicing this habit of unwinding and reflecting, so allowing yourself to heal and rejuvenate and restore over the summer in preparation for next year, if you start feeling agitated, Aroused hypervigilant.
Or if you start feeling DOE listless, sluggish, hypo aroused, you want to then seek out a professional or a companion. Whom you can work with to help you unwind your own sense of fatigue. There's no need to push it this alone. If the solitary practice of mindful awareness is not working to help you process and metabolize.
Everything that's happened this year, allowing your system to get gained strength from lessons learned and allowing it to process and move on from those things that, we want to leave behind mindful awareness and reflection can be very powerful to do that. It sounds so. But that sense of real allowing and letting go and being with what is just as it is without trying to move it in one way or another, without being overwhelmed by it, allowing it like waves on the shore to.
Come in tide goes in, tide, goes out, tide goes in, tide, goes out, allowing it to work through you is an incredibly powerful way to use mindful awareness. If you're finding yourself with an adverse response to the practice of mindful awareness, no need to push yourself through, choose another modality and preferably.
That has a social component to it
so that you're not alone and maybe process with a friend or a family member or a colleague or a counselor, but allow yourself to seek out that guidance and companionship.
part of creating a conscious classroom is being able to be the pillar of the room, that central pillar that holds the tent up and being able to be steady and strong and create that canopy for your students. To feel safe and invited and excited about being there in order to do that, it requires a lot from us.
It requires us to be strong. It requires us to be straight. It requires us to be stable and it requires us to be able to stretch our arms wide so that the tent is full. And can embrace all of our students this summer processing the most challenging school year that we've had and preparing to welcome students back, which we'll talk about in the next two sessions with some of the issues that they may be facing, requires you to have the energy to hold that tent.
And that's. For your students. So this process of unwinding making a habit, setting aside a daily practice is for your own rejuvenation and self knowledge and healing and strength, and ultimately fulfillment and discovery and purpose and activate. And development and attainment. So many positive qualities can come out of this.
If you give yourself the space and time to unwind this process of mindful awareness is never only about healing from the past. It's always also about that positive tension of. Ourselves towards or pulling out from ourselves from deep, within our capacities for deep happiness, enjoy connection and love.
So it's always about evolving and growing and developing. Even when we're focused on unwinding and allowing ourselves to untangle and to heal from the tamale that this past year has been,
give yourself that time. Give yourself that space be consistent trust that you will work through this as we process and metabolize all the experiences in our lives and keep reaching towards that.
That opportunity for deep happiness and awakened consciousness. That sense of being so full and so alive as you are.
So let's close with a short love and kindness practice towards ourselves.
Come into your best mindfulness posture, allowing yourself to deeply let go of striving of needing to be and become of any sense that you need to get over or resolve or fix or do anything.
Take a breath in
and as you exhale, allow yourself to exhale any sense that you need to be other than you are
and take another breath in.
And as you exhale, exhale out
a wind of love and kindness and envelop yourself in that cloud of love and kindness.
So as you sit still visualizing on each of your exhale, Feeling that cloud around you with love and kindness and like a spring mist, allowing that to moisten your face, your heart, your torso, your arms, your whole body. Refreshing you with, with a cloud of kindness and love and rejuvenation.
allow yourself to absorb in your own time, allow yourself to unwind. In your own time,
trusting the wisdom of your own body, your own being to come into equilibrium
and to experience deep breast Fe. And ease
and we'll close with that. The next two sessions, we will speak more about the students experience and what we can anticipate be. Well, put this into practice into good hands. And I will speak with you again soon. Thank you for listening to the conscious classroom. I'm your host, Amy Edelstein. Please check out the show notes on inner strength, foundation.net for links and more information.
And if you enjoyed this podcast, please share it with a friend and pass the love on. See you next time.