Deep Breath In…Deep Breath Out...
"Welcome to your body," says Brynne Caleda, as she guides 30 Kindergarteners and 1st Graders through a yoga class. Her poise, centered-ness, demeanor, influence and understanding, as she moved the students from one pose to another, was inspiring to say the least, but more importantly, for me as a teacher, it was a moment of clarification: it's time for a change, to emerge anew.
As the new year unfolds, new opportunities arise, goals are set, and challenges are ready to be faced. HarmsaStar is not just a company to me. It has become a way of life, an inspiration, and an opportunity to be fulfilled in ways I never imagined. The countless lives I've already been a part of, the smiles and recognition I've received from children and adults alike, the bonds I've made, and connections with companies I admire and support, have all helped me define who I am as an artist, entrepreneur, and educator. The time has come though to deeper my practice as a teacher. The way we are taught as yogis to always return to your mat and as dancers, to return to the barre, I feel as an educator, it's time to return to the classroom and learn. This year already holds a lot for me personally, as I continue to grow and expand as a teacher, and I want wholeheartedly to take full advantage of everything I will be learning, experiencing, and doing, in order to truly transform into an even greater student, apprentice, and eventually one whom catapults lives and dreams.
With so much happening in 2014 for HarmsaStar, I, Harmony, have come to a crossroads in my teaching. Having spent the last 8 years a "teacher," I've developed certain styles, habits, routines, materials, and ways of implementing content that I've grown comfortable with and perhaps even stagnant from. It has thus come to my attention, that it's definitely time for some self-reflection, and subsequently, new challenges. It's time for me to re-define myself as a teacher; not only in the way that I approach teaching, but also in how I teach myself to be a teacher. The reminder that I will always be a student has become an exciting venture as I move towards new dreams and ambitions regarding what I have to share and give to my students.
What really kick-started this revelation into high gear were two of my student's unique responses to an exercise I did yesterday in my Yogi-Grow program. At the beginning of the class, I asked each student to write down how they were feeling before yoga that day. They wrote down their responses and then were cued to place those piece of paper underneath their mats. At the end of the lesson, the students were asked to take that same piece of paper out from under their mats and write how they felt after taking yoga. The responses were overwhelmingly insightful, and two in particular stood out to me.
Before: "How I feel is very scared that I can't do any stretches at all. I feel so nervous that I won't be able to do anything at all."
After: "I feel relax and stretchful because I've done lots of stretches."
A pretty positive experience, overall! I was happy to read this. Then, I also got...
Before: "I feel bored!!!! Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored"
After: "I still feel bored."
Now this is where the challenge of being a teacher really comes to light. How to remedy this poor child's boredom? Am I a boring teacher? Am I not challenging my students enough? What about the students who are having a great time? Each student matters, so I have to find a way to resolve this. I must. That's what drives me as an educator.
So, as I take this new journey into teaching and steps towards becoming an ever better teacher, I've decided the most important aspect for me is intention. With intention comes heart, soul, and a great deal of self-awareness. The time is now and I can only get better. Thus, it has also become apparent to me that in order to hold myself accountable for these new intentions, I need to do some serious self-reflection. Read articles, have discussions, journal, research, take professional development trainings, create more subject material, question why, and how, and observe those who teach me.
It is my goal to share with you, my audience, my weekly ventures into a deeper teaching. In sharing my fears, my findings, and my "aha" moments, I hope to ultimately discover a greater potential, and most importantly, develop new ways to truly affect and empower the children and adults that I care so much about: my students. It's all about the power of love, the power of the arts, and the power of generations.
This personal blog is a chance for me to connect deeper to my support system, to those who believe in me and what HarmsaStar, especially with Generation Rainbow, is striving to achieve. It's also a chance for me to be raw, connect back to the arts community, fellow teachers, and students of life, learning from one another, day by day. As I begin this new journey into teaching, I would love feedback, insight, helpful resources, etc…please feel free to comment! In fact, that would mean a lot! Share stories, talk story, it's all relevant!
A special thank you to that student who wasn't afraid to be honest, and in doing so helped me to be honest with myself.
2014 - Indeed, Time For Change.