Even breathing is sometimes hard


Partner Teacher Suzy was out Tuesday at a meeting. So I had to go it alone.

Kind of.

Lindsay from Center for Mindful Learning came, which meant I wasn’t alone. But she always comes at the end.

IMG_0387For the biggest chunk of time, I was having students deal with money. We had tried to play a game called I Have… Who Has... dealing with money. Great game, but hard when you don’t know the coins.

We tried it on Monday, but it took a really long time, so we tried again on Tuesday, with the hopes that it would go better.

It didn’t.

It takes an awfully long time to learn money and coins. And so we’ll be working on it again tomorrow, and probably going at it again after break.

So hard.

I remember the first time I went to another country. Currency all seemed like Monopoly money. I really didn’t pay much attention to coins. Only the paper seemed to matter. And the first few days visiting the market to buy chocolate, I remember just thrusting a handful of German coins into the cashier’s face, hoping that I had enough to by my Kinderschokolade. And trusting that she would only take as much as she needed.

I had no idea.

And I don’t want my students in those shoes.

moneyNot when money matters.

So this is our next project. I found some price tags online, and students will come up with the way to make the right change. Then they will have to say what coins they used.

We’re using Explain Everything, so eventually the picture on the right will be narrated by voices telling me what those coin pictures are.

It’s hard to say the names.

Hard to remember what they are.

Our Teaching Assistants–who are really just students with study halls who we recruited to be in our classroom–have been really amazing. They need to be instructed on how to help rather than to do for the students they are helping. But they pitch in and do things, even when they feel a bit silly. Some we chose because they were bored in study hall. Some we chose because they really need more exposure to English. And some we chose to keep out of trouble.248x249xcmlnewlarge-300x300.png.pagespeed.ic.whX9LpOZe_

But  Lindsay told us a few weeks ago that mindfulness seems to be the most difficult for the students who need it most. And that was completely apparent on this day.

One student who gets so angry, with justification sometimes, wanted to walk out. He said he had a stomachache and needed to go to the bathroom. We made him stay. Only 20 minutes. (The money game ate into the time. Lindsay stood and watched while we struggled.)

But he stayed. And he breathed.

We tried to play a game where we made our faces look like our emotions. And a new emotion emerged: I don’t know.

We have a couple of new students, though, and one is having difficulty showing any sort of affect at all. Smiles come only rarely. Though one came when we repeatedly were asked to tighten our faces. I think Lindsay was just doing it so students would look at me…

And laugh.

But that’s not so bad.


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