Friday, September 7, 2012

Zen and The Art of Teaching Elementary

In the past three weeks I must have started and stopped 20 different blog entries. So much has happened I'm having trouble finding the words. Probably the best one is transformation.

I am clearly in a state of transformation.

Since I began teaching art after school,  I have learned so much about children and through them, adults.

As adults we often think we're the teachers, though we are students as often as children are. One of the things children continuously teach me is the importance of consistency. This is a lesson many adults need. We should be consistent in everything we do. It is how we become better. The more we do something, the better we become. We also show others what they can expect.

A second thing children are continuously teaching me is patience. In the past, I was a fairly impatient person, yet being around children reminds me of a universal truth;  all actions have meaning. A person always does something for a reason. Sometimes they may not recognize it, but it is there. When we remind ourselves their actions are not personal, but for some underlying reason, it is easier to become patient. We can even allow that patience to feed our compassion.

A third thing children are teaching me is that plans are a good idea, but sometimes they need to be changed. I cannot be attached to my plans. They won't always work. Sometimes unexpected things happen. When I allow myself to let go of my plans and embrace the moment, I am more peaceful, even in controlled chaos.

These lessons are huge. Even when I am tired or had a difficult situation arise, I focus on these things. When I do that, I feel good about my work and I am able to look at my time with compassionate detachment. I can love even the most difficult student. I can appreciate cleaning up the classroom at the end of the day. I even feel good about the traffic on the drive home.

For all these reasons, I recommend spending time with our world's greatest teachers. Children are so good at teaching us the lessons we most need.

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