I have been teaching in some capacity for at least 13 years now. I have taught everything from preschool up through 6th grade. I have learned that in all of my years of dealing with kids, they are definitely unpredictable and there are some things that you just can’t control. I taught first grade for 5 years in a very tough neighborhood in Brooklyn. I really thought it couldn’t get more challenging then that! I spent a lot of nights exhausted and in tears.
These days, I leave my kids yoga classes feeling pretty confident that I taught a really fun class and the kids had a great time. I know they benefited in some way as they leave feeling relaxed and happy. But of course, there are those days where just nothing you do seems to work. I had a day like that recently where the kids just would not listen, participate or really even acknowledge my presence. At 3 years old, you are not expected to focus and follow along, kids this age would rather just run and explore. And run these kids certainly did- it got to a point where I had to stop the class! But I have been working with this age for a few years now and I thought I had gotten pretty good at getting them to focus, even if it were for just 20 minutes.
I left this class feeling defeated and upset with myself. I gave up. I have never given up in a class. But here I was, completely lost and acknowledging my failure. It was a terrible feeling, it left everyone involved feeling the same way. I’m sure the parents were not thrilled that the yoga teacher could not get their child to listen and had to end class early! Woah, how embarrassing.
So I thought about this class a lot during the weekend. I tried to be easier on myself, I know this type of thing happens to everyone at some point, but I, like most others, have high expectations of myself and what I “should” be able to control since I am a children’s yoga teacher. “Should” is a really interesting word. Sometimes even us yogi’s have difficulty in letting things just be.
I received a call this weekend from a parent of a student I teach in one of my preschools. She raved about how wonderful yoga has been for her daughter, how she just loves the classes and just wanted to make sure I knew how much her daughter has benefited from these classes. I thought that this phone call could not have come at a better time. It caused me to take a step back and rethink how I was feeling. I know that I have to take the good with the bad, I’m not perfect and its ok to make some mistakes sometimes. I know that 90% of the time I am doing good. Hopefully I can use this experience to approach this situation (when it comes up again) in the future just be ok with the challenge. And sometimes you just have to let the 3 year old run.