Stories from the field, Part VI: When student becomes teacher

 Cassie, Hannah, Anca, and Dylan teach mindfulness to a third grade classroom at Longfellow Elementary. 

Cassie, Hannah, Anca, and Dylan teach mindfulness to a third grade classroom at Longfellow Elementary. 

Stories from the Field are small moments about how mindfulness is impacting the students I am working with, in hopes of capturing what it means to learn and use mindfulness. This story comes from a large high school resource room in Portland, Maine:

 Cassie waits for students to raise their hand as the sound diminishes

Cassie waits for students to raise their hand as the sound diminishes

Today, a group my students had the opportunity to take what they learned about mindfulness and put it into action.  Using their favorite lessons, four of my students walked one building over to Longfellow Elementary, where third grade teacher Megan Markgren invited us into her room.  To calm the nerves before we went next door, we did some grounding exercises, making contact with the desk under our hands and ground under our feet. Cassie, Hannah, Anca, and Dylan expertly taught students how to listen mindfully to a bell and how to pay attention to all of their senses while eating Hershey's kisses. 

 Students raise their hand when they can no longer hear the sound of the bell.

Students raise their hand when they can no longer hear the sound of the bell.

When we left the room, everyone was glowing. I could see the pride on their faces, and I radiated it right back to them. Cassie and I talked about how it was disappointing that I would be ending next week, just as she was starting to understand mindfulness better. But that is next week. And today...today was better than I could have hoped. My high school students rose the to the occasion and owned the material.  Wherever they were in their own process, they were able to show confidence and poise while delivering the material. Today, my students became the teachers.

Update: Two more groups of students traveled down the road to Lincoln Middle School to present mindfulness this week.  Both groups did a great job of sharing their learning about mindful listening, breathing, and eating. They also shared their process of finding it, at first, a bit weird, but noticing they ultimately do use it by breathing when stressed out, focusing when playing sports and singing, and in general to savor each moment.

I am savoring these experiences right now and trying to really soak up all the goodness from them. It has been so powerful to watch my students own their learning and brave their own nerves (and the frigid temperatures we had to walk through) to share it with others. I will be sorry to say goodbye on Thursday.