Today is the first of August. There are 21 days until I go back to set up my classroom. Last week I was able to attend a three day Yoga Calm training. On Day One there was a lot of theory and it felt sort of repetitive after having watched videos and read some of the book before attending the training. Also, I got distracted a bit as I got word from my husband he had been arrested outside of the Governor’s Mansion in St Paul with other Black Lives Matter protesters who had been holding down that location since the murder of Philando Castile. Needless to say, I was a little shaken up and had some difficulty focusing throughout the afternoon. I was relieved to hear from him before the training ended saying they had released him with a citation.
Day Two of the training was focused on physical connections to learning. We practiced the Yoga Calm Mat 20 and focused on strength. We reflected on a time in our past that we were strong and then looked to the future to challenges to come and drew on the strength we already have in ourselves to face those challenges. We discussed the reasons students may choose to participate in yoga including, building confidence, feeling good, a sense of safety within routine and structure, and it allows space for them to learn more about themselves. We did some teaching ourselves and I realized that I would need to develop the language I use around guiding through poses. It’s funny, after years of attending yoga and hearing the language I thought it would have flowed better from my own mouth but it was a little choppy.
I am looking forward to using the Sentence Completion Worksheet and the Happiness Recipe worksheet with my students. I think they will provide so much more insight into my students’ needs. Overall on Day Two I thought a lot about how this work will benefit my students. We talked a lot about trauma-informed teaching and how we all (no matter our setting) should teach from a trauma-informed lense. I think that Chrissy Mignogna, the instructor, did a great job bringing people back to that trauma-informed lense. Her experience working with youth who have experienced trauma and are in the hospital has really informed her teaching. The stories Chrissy shared about working at the hospital made me want to work with those children too. Overall Chrissy was amazing and I am grateful to have had her as my instructor those three days.
One of the next steps I can take now that I have completed the Integrated Approach to Wellness Workshops is to pursue becoming a Yoga Calm Certified Youth Instructor which requires 20 hours of Yoga Calm Youth Instruction, submission of lesson plans, a video demonstration, online exam, and a certification capstone which consists of a weekend with others working towards the certification and teaching one another. I asked and I can focus on completing this after I finish my EBD licensure program. Completing that would open some new doors for me for future work. I am always trying to think ahead as I know my body won’t be able to do this work forever.
Day Three of the workshop focused on social/emotional connections to learning. We discussed different activities we could do to support the core competencies of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) such as mountain pose for self awareness, woodchopper for self-management, complements for social-awareness, social emotional games for relationship skills, and providing the choice to participate for responsible decision making. Throughout most of the day we played games. One, the Archetype game helped me to think about how often I create space where my students can explore different sides of themselves. Growing up my brother and I always pretended to be different people and looking back those people often fell into these archetypes. I don’t see my students exploring many of the archetypes in their play and I don’t see their imaginative play being very broad. Using our imaginations is so important not only to learning but to healing. This is an area I want to focus on more this year.
Over the next few weeks I have lots of fun activities planned for myself along with another 2 day training institute put on by the district on racial equity and time set aside for lesson planning. Before I know it those students will be coming back into my classroom. A new space, a new year, new ideas…I am really looking forward to having an overall more successful year!