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Teachers Calmness

May 27, 2020

On Top of Everything Else

These days I spend my free time in the garden, walking, and making art. Pretty soon I’ll be spending more time on the water. These are the places and activities that keep me balanced and help me to move forward with my heart in a logical way. I love watching the transformation as the flowers emerge and the vegetables grow. I’m going farther on my morning walk with more light and warmer temperatures. I find myself saying to students ‘yes, this is crazy and it’s OK to not feel OK all the time’. Our feelings are real.

I came across a blog post written by teacher Trevor Muir, I watched a TEDX talk that he gave and I spent some time on his website. I noticed similarities in our philosophy’s. “I believe every student has the potential for greatness. And I believe every educator can be equipped to unlock that potential.” During the pandemic it is more difficult to reach students, to get a clear sense of how they’re doing, and support them and what they’re learning from a distance. I don’t think that anyone will argue that the tools we’re using today are different than what we use in the classroom. I am referring to the ‘tools’ of communication more than the ‘tools’ we use to teach like the piano and paint.

Many of you remember, and perhaps were teaching, on 9/11. Some of you were students on November 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I remember both very clearly. I remember the conversations and my teachers and colleagues responses. I was in 4th grade in 1963 and my 4th grade teacher Mrs. Richardson stood in the doorway and calmly gave us the news. With an even and very kind voice she answered my classmates questions and helped us get ready for early dismissal. On 9/11 I was the one who needed a calm and kind voice to support my middle schoolers.

Today our students need that calm and kind voice like never in my lifetime. They need to know that we’re here for them. We know that behind every behavior there is a reason. We know that what we see today on zoom may be very different tomorrow. It might take more than the daily or weekly class check ins to get a sense of what’s going on, especially for those who are absent or simply not fulfilling assignments. It may take texts, emails, phone calls, a drive by or some other form of communication to let them know that you are calm and kind and ‘here for them’. If they’re having fears they won’t be expressing them easily on a zoom meeting or perhaps not at all.

You’ve read in my weekly email over and over

Most importantly, I hope you’re being kind to yourself! Do whatever you can and don’t feel bad about what you’re not doing.

That’s the bottom line and if you’re taking care of yourself than you can be there for your students. I suggest that you take time to journal or make art about this important role that you have using Trevor Muir’s questions might help you unpack your present teacher role:

  • What does it mean to be calm in crisis?
  • How can I exude and model this calm with my students?
  • How can I give my students the opportunity to voice their fear and anxiety in a safe way?
  • What am I doing to preserve my own mental health as I pour out so much energy for my students?

As we move into warmer weather and the school year comes to an end we know that some students are ‘just done’! Teachers as well. But we’re not done with the pandemic so we still need to – in a kind and steady way -explore our role as teachers! We’re fortunate that we don’t have to do this alone, we can depend on colleagues.

8 comments

  1. Thanks Argy for being the calm, centered, and loving voice supporting all of us as we do our best to support those we love, including our students.


  2. Dear Argy, I so enjoy and benefit from reading your blog and the good effect is amplified by our having been friends for such a long time.

    I’ve just been introduced to the writings of John O’Donahue and wanted to share with you his message of peace and grace. Bless the Space Between Us .

    And feed the “good wolf” from the Cherokee allegory .

    Thanks! Charlotte

    >


  3. Thank you for your insight. I greatly appreciate your comparison of being a student and later a teacher in such unforeseeable times, the changing of roles. The calmness of a teacher is a valuable practice beyond measure.


  4. Argy, thank you!

    I always appreciate your personal posts…. this one is especially outstanding. May I share it on my FB page? God bless your work for education in Maine!

    Iris Fields P.O. Box 426 Brunswick, ME 04011

    Tel: (207)729-8049 *www.mmpforyou.com/iris *

    “Forget all the reasons why it won’t work, and focus on the reason why it will!”


  5. Thank you Bill for your kind comment and for following the blog! Yes, we all love our students. ~Argy


  6. Love it – thank you Charlotte for your comment and for following the blog! ~Argy


  7. You’re absolutely right Nicole and it has become even more clear during the pandemic! Thanks for your comment. ~Argy


  8. You’re welcome Iris! Thanks for your comment – of course feel free to share on FB! Invite folks to follow the blog at meartsed.wordpress.com. My best to you, Argy



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