There is a student in one of my classes right now who triggers frustration and annoyance in me. He is outgoing and gregarious, and regularly does not follow simple directions. “Please take your ear buds out….please get back to work…please stop talking with your neighbor…please don’t respond, “what?"; when I redirect you…please stop jumping on that kid’s back and fake punching him in the stomach, etc, etc, etc. I believe there are reasons he is exhibiting these behaviors that have nothing to do with annoying me, and I know he will require a particular kind of support to be successful. But geez….
To even be able to begin to provide that support he needs, I need to let go of some of my own annoyance.
One of my favorite exercises to practice for students like this is a, “Just Like Me” exercise from Daniel Rechtschaffen’s The Mindful Education Workbook:
Close your eyes and and take a few deep, grounding breaths. Call to mind the student, colleague, or parent who is difficult for you and imagine them happy and content.
Repeat the following phrases silently,
Just like me, they want to be happy.
Just like me, they want to be successful.
Just like me, they want to feel valued.
(Feel free to add any other phrases that feel useful).
May you be happy.
May you be successful.
May you feel valued.
Sometimes, just reminding ourselves of our common humanity can help us soften.