It is, what I assume, the intent of most educators, to leave an imprint on the lives of their students – to inspire them and to in turn, hope they will go on to inspire others too.
Educators don’t always get the immediate opportunity, or even the long-term opportunity to see the full scope of their impact on a child. So, when glimpses appear, it is a sure sign from the Universe that you’re in the place for you. This confirmation reiterates the type of learning that is desired and needed by the faces of the future world.
When first beginning my business, my tagline was simple. It came from the heart and has since inspired what I do each day. What I wish my teacher had taught me® is my intention. It’s what drives me in my day to day work and is what allows for those gratifying glimpses that make it all worthwhile.
What do I wish my teacher had taught me?
I wish that I had learned to better communicate my needs, successes, and challenges within the school setting. I wish I had been taught the importance of my voice at school and its inherit value. And, I definitely wish my teachers had taught me from a young age, the lifelong skills of a solid mindfulness practice. I wish had the opportunity to take breaks from academia during a school day, to practise relaxation, to breathe, to manifest, to play, to create magic, to embody compassion, and empathy, and to learn to recognize my gifts and soul’s purpose.
Along the way, these teachers did appear for me in my life, but I always felt had they shown up in the earlier years of school, my path may have been navigated in a lighter and more easeful way.
But it’s been a gift to recognize that this was not my path, so that I could grow up and then make it so, for so many others.
These past few weeks, months, and years have given me that glimmer of light, that glimpse into what’s being absorbed by students who are learning what I wish my teacher had taught me®.
Our school recently held a wellness night for families within our community. My Principal was interested in having a booth devoted to teaching parents, grandparents and children all about yoga and mindfulness. When I was unavailable to attend, it was suggested that some student representatives go in place. When asked who may be interested in this nighttime opportunity and commitment, a slew of hands shot into the air. Glimpse one.
From there, a group of students formed and before I even had the chance to meet and co-plan with them, they were already off to the races. They came forward to our meeting and had already assigned roles and tasks for each person. Glimpse two.
Within these roles, they had identified what they felt were the most impactful and life enhancing skills they had learned this year related to wellness. One student oversaw meditation, one tackled affirmations, another gave the gift of gratitude, some taught strengthening yoga postures, and others played with the magic of animal spirit cards (this is just the short list). Glimpse 3.
By the end of this meeting, I realized I wasn’t needed at all. Yes, they asked to borrow my wellness tools, to accompany their teachings, but they did not need me one bit. They had completely immersed themselves in the teaching, acknowledged what it had brought to their own lives, and even added their own unique extensions and ideas to each theme. Glimpse 4.
Was I sad that they didn’t need me? Absolutely not. I completely surrendered to this experience and disengaged myself for the need to control the outcome. I had full and complete trust in the process. What a gift this was to see what I wish my teacher had taught me® now being taught by the students themselves.
Glimpse 5 came today when I was out for recess supervision and a group of my students pointed to the very back of the field where a circular area of grass and dirt exist. They said, “Ms. Vetere, that’s our mindfulness circle.” Now, I’m out there once a week and have been for the whole year; yet, this was the first that I knew of this area and of this ongoing practice. Apparently, my students go to their special spot and initiate the routines from our classroom. It commences when one student makes the action and sound of the tingsha bells like what we use in class. Another individual is responsible for leading the meditation in which they use the words that they’ve memorized from the tracks of Meditations For Growing Minds. They always begin with, “close your eyes and relax your minds.” Following their guided meditation, they ‘in their words,’ dispute over a topic for a community session for a while. Once agreed upon, they use a hat as a talking piece (in place of Meddy Teddy who we use in class), and they take turns to share their thoughts, feelings, and worries, and to think of ways to spread love.
Hearing about this truly filled my day with gratitude that can’t be expressed in words.
Glimpse 6 and 7 come from boys who are using visualization as a means to succeed athletically.
Glimpse 8 – well that came from a boy who answered the question “what inspires you?” with, “Louise Hay inspires me. She has taught me how to look at life in a different way. In a positive way.” Holy Smokes! It was not until my early 20’s that I was introduced to the workings of Louise Hay, who also highly impacted my life. Thank goodness for the children’s books she is now writing and has made available to educators and parents alike.
My glimpses now dip into the double-digits and maybe even beyond that. The point is, I see the change. I see the desire for kids to implement this learning into their lives. They crave peace, and the means to achieve it. The beauty is now in seeing them help other individuals to experience these same impacts.
This week in our school board, we are celebrating Education Week. Education is about learning, not just from a textbook, but from one another and from the world around us. When we are educated, it is because we know who we are, why we’re here, and what impact we can make in our time.
The theme of our week is We Inspire Hope. The glimpses that I am receiving inspire tremendous hope in me. They remind me of the sacredness of what we deliver to our students each day – because they are listening, they are watching, they are absorbing, they are learning, and they too are teaching.
Thank you so much to my students for teaching me so often what I wish my teacher had taught me®. And thank you for inspiring me with so many glimpses of hope for our bright and positive future.