I have a yoga teacher, Amy Baker, who asks us to get curious with ourselves at the beginning of each and every class she teaches. Get curious with what’s happening in our bodies. Get curious with the tape that is running through our minds. Ask questions. Get inquisitive.
I never leave her classes the same person I was when I walked through the door.
Each time I’m in her class, I learn something new about my body, about my alignment, about the tapes in my head space, about what feels good and what doesn’t. Each time I’m with her I learn through the experience she provides.
Talking about Culturally Responsive Education today, Dr. Yemi Stembridge presented to a group of Cherry Creek teachers, and asked us to do exactly what Amy does so naturally in her yoga classes: create experiences for our students that allow them to shift, to change, to get curious. It is the experiences we design for our students that allow them to learn, allow them to invest in their learning, and ultimately give them a reason to continue to learn.
When we approach our teaching with curiosity, and design experiences to allow our students to also get curious about themselves, their surroundings, their history, and the world, that is when shifts happen for our students.
What experiences do you ask your students to have?
What feelings do your students walk away with?
What shifts do you expect your students to have?
Not gonna lie. This year was hard. I am really glad to be done with it. It wasn’t hard because of school; we just had a lot happen in our family: death, floods, and struggle.
As I slowly move into the rhythms of summer, I have become quiet: reflective. This year was so focused on surrender and survival, I lost sight of who I am, what I stand for. While I am proud that I was able to surrender much of what happened to the universe, the survival of it all made me move into a space that was still untethering. Much of what I experienced emotionally this year was unknown to me.
While I have lost people very close to me in the past, I have not sat in space with a person I love so fiercely struggling to find and figure out themselves in the proximity I have this year. It has been difficult for me to create space between my daughter’s search and my own, or even what I believe she needs. It has been the greatest struggle to allow her space to figure out her place in the world.
But yesterday, we hiked. We hiked Segment 3 on the Colorado Trail…12 miles in one day. We talked. We laughed. We reentered together. We grounded ourselves in the forest.
While all this year I worked at surrendering events to the universe, it took the forest to break something free in her vision of herself. I knew this intuitively. Last March in a bout of extreme frustration I turned to my husband and said, “She needs the forest. She needs to go into the woods to figure herself out, to get away from all the tools she uses to distract herself. To get quiet enough to listen.” And that is just what we have begun to do.
While I know that one day in the forest will not work miracles, we will continue to go. Backpacking and hiking. Getting quiet. Receiving grounding.