I feel so bad for saying this. I have tried, I promise. But it’s just not my cup of tea. That doesn’t mean I don’t promote it to pupils and staff, in fact there is a session after sch today and a few pupils are going and I will support the fantastic member of staff organising it, but I know that it will be a bit like pulling out my teeth while I am there. I can hear the Twitter comments now, “ well that must mean that you really need it”, so before you comment let me explain my experience.
My first attempt at Mindfulness came from a whole school inset. We had a great speaker come in and talk to our yr 10 for an hour and our 6th form students. He explained how Jonny whatyoucallit Rugby player used it to convert all those tries. It looked very impressive, focusing your mind. He then had a whole school assembly and asked everyone to close their eyes and push their hands together but resits. I closed my eyes, but then suddenly felt aware that I was a teacher and should be looking out for the pupils who would mess around, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to mess around. But no, when I opened my eyes almost 799 students were all taking this seriously. Even the 18 yr old who act like there are too cool for sch had their eyes closed and where participating. However no matter what I did, I couldn’t switch off.
I next tried a smaller situation. A small group of student and a teacher who has an interest in mindfulness. This felt more like meditation. We had to think of relaxing places during our lunch break. My stomach kept grumbling which wasn’t good but all I could do was think of the class I had next and what exciting things I would teach them. I wasn’t worried about the class, just eager. I then started to get a bit bored. I could hear the noises outside the classroom and
I then tried one of those apps. My first session suggested that I deep breath. Counting. I then was to imagine all my problems and things that take up my time to be cars passing by me. They are still there apparently but there is nothing I can do about it so don’t worry. Well this frustrated me. I wanted to think about each car passing by and suddenly there seemed to be more cars, and going faster. The next day I tried it, I was determined not to think about each car and use the time to relax when I felt more worried after the session than before. The cars seemed faster and out of control, when normally I can control the cars and know the direction they are going in. I tried this app for a week.
On the last day of the app experiment in the evening I went for my normal run, 30 mins when I put the world to rights. I sometimes don’t think at all, just count my steps. But other times I can think about the assembly I am planning, or a conversation I had during the day that didn’t go well. It doesn’t feel forced. I am doing what I want to do and when I want to do it. And I always feel calm afterwards. Perhaps this is my mindfulness. Perhaps I need to look into this further, is mindfulness for everyone?