Sweet Rewards

I am a yoga teacher; I’ve been teaching yoga and mindfulness for almost ten years. This is certainly my life’s purpose, but it doesn’t pay the bills.

Hence, I am also a school teacher; I have just finished my 5th year of school teaching. I used to teach little kids, now I teach teenagers. It’s my ideal career. I love coming to school, getting to know the kids, seeing them grow and flourish.

Switching from elementary to high school was jarring at first. Adolescents can be intimidating. They are cliquish, self-centered, and mostly taller than me. But, as I’ve gotten to know them, I see their sweetness, their insecurity, their creativity. My students here in Guatemala are English Language Learners, with Spanish and/or Korean as their native languages. They are ninth graders, for a few more days anyway. They are affluent, whereas the third graders I taught at a public school in south Austin were of low socioeconomic status. That, too, was jarring at first. Many of these kids have Blackberrys, iPads, fancy mansions and more money than I can imagine.

Over the course of the past two years working at this high school, I have developed compassion for the students. Many of them live in valid fear, due to the rampant violent crime here in Guatemala. They are not free to run and play outside like I was as a teen. Their last homework assignment for writing workshop was to write a unique “advice poem” styled after one of my all-time favorites, Desiderata (some of  my students’ best are posted here). They also submitted feedback on the course. Here are some of my favorite comments. Heartwarming reminders of why I teach.

  • The thing I like the most this year was going outside and breathing deeply because it makes you feel “pure.”
  • I liked that we had mind control and yoga at the beginning of every class. I was able to wake up a little from my bus nap. Also, I liked that we had a word pool. I learnt many new words that were interesting and beneficial to me.
  • Poems are a way to let go of everything you are holding inside, to express your feelings, and making them rhyme. Or writing in such a way that you just let everything out, and call it a poem. This is the best kind of writing, because it has no rules. I, could, insert, a, comma, after, each, word, in, a, line, and people will believe the author meant for the words to pause. Which is great because each reader can have a different opinion on every poem. It’s such an open way of writing.
  • What i like most of WW these year was that we could write anything we wanted to write at that moment. Another thing i like about these year was that we learned yoga and i will practice it in the future because i feel it really works.
  • What i liked most about ww was that it helped me open my heart. Sometimes i really needed to get out my emotions and just take all that stress from my self and I put that in words. It helped me a lot to relax and to give me some time to myself. I thank my notebook because there i could let my heart write and it helped me a lot. I also liked the meditation we did in class because it gave us a time to think and to ourselves.
  • This year I really enjoyed working in our campaigns. I believe that, as Guatemalan citizen I have the responsibility to help my country, to spread the word, act, and be informed about what is happening. We need to start to act if we want to Guatemala to prosper.
  • The best thing about writers workshop this year was the time for meditation. I really think it was very good idea to include a special time before class to start up our brains and relax to be able to write the best pieces of work. I also enjoy it because it is a time to get away from paperwork and we express ourselves freely together, and even laugh at our meditation faces.
  • The thing i most liked this year was stream of consciousness and meditating at the beginning of class. It helped me get everything i had on my mind on paper and stop stressing about problems. The meditating helped me to feel relaxed and just get my mind off stupid problems.
  • I learn many new techniques for writing. Also I had a great opportunity to participate on community service project. This year Writing work shop was very special because I could experience many new things that I couldn’t have. By the way meditation change my life and i’m enjoying it 😀
  • What i like the most is the meditation because it gave me a feeling of satisfaction and calmness in my head.

Another HUGE benefit of teaching is summer vacation, which will commence on June 14! It’s so close, I can taste it. I will continue to post blogs throughout the summer, though not as frequently. Enjoy your summer, wherever you may be!

2 responses to “Sweet Rewards”

  1. hola Michelle, me gustó muchisimo todo lo que escribiste, hay mucho sentimiento de cariño y amor en cada párrafo!! Felicidades. Muy felices vacaciones, un abrazo

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