Hello all and welcome to my blog! My name is Kayla and I am an early childhood educator. I am passionate about yoga and mindfulness in education, and here's why...
I've always been active, healthy and happy. It wasn't until a few years ago that I started noticing how stressed I was and how overwhelmed my students were. I started loosing my hair, feeling exhausted, feeling stressed all of the time and not seeing any end in sight. Teachers are given percentages, scores, and levels that we are required to get students to be able to reach. These academic expectations do not take into account where these students live, who they live with, what language they speak at home, or what experiences they have outside of school. Teachers have to push these students academically while managing the classroom environment, building relationships and supporting their social-emotional development. These students are required to memorize, sit quietly, navigate challenging tasks that they might not be ready for, deal with whatever goes on at home and then leave that all behind at 8am the next morning. My kindergarten students are tested, assessed, forced to memorize facts.
It really hit me a few months ago when a few of my students were playing 'teacher'. One child had a piece of paper and a pencil, and was testing one her friends on writing numbers 0-20. She had them write their numbers down and then said "Good, next we are going to test your sight words." At first glance, it might seem cute, but that is how my students are seeing me 'teach'. Rushing to get all of the necessary data throughout the school day for every student on different academic areas, so that I can input all of the data and percentages online by the first of every month. When is there time for me to teach? How are we supporting them emotionally? Are we tracking how well they like school, how interested they are in learning new things, how well they can interact and cooperate with their peers? Do we have time to support their emotional intelligence, problem solving skills, and coping skills? I get tired and overwhelmed just thinking about it.
What can we do about all of this? I'm afraid I don't have all of the answers, but I do have some tools and strategies to help fellow teachers and students calm down and take time to breathe.
Let's get started.