At the end of Chapter 3, on page 68, Lisa talks about moving from "should to could” and she suggests that we “rent a strategy.” What are some practices or strategies that you could try out to reduce unhealthy stress? In Chapter 4, she shares a variety of ideas for self-awareness, self-care, and self-compassion, including mini-retreats. Which ones resonate with you, and/or might be applicable to your students?
RITA A SORRENTINO
2/4/2019 08:44:17 am
While reading Chapter 3, I wanted to give Tommy more time to build his castles, the other children ways to sympathize with the needs of others, teachers to be more aware of the constraints of their classroom routines, administrators to understand pedagogy at all levels of learning and a school-wide (or district-wide) effort to practice presence and reduce the top ten stressors on page 64. I really like the idea of renting a strategy for practicing presence as well as for other learning goals. One-size strategy does not fit all nor does it work in every circumstance. From the list at the end of Chapter 3, I am revisiting the gratitude strategies # 12. As a frequent SEPTA user, I observe many different types of behavior as a result of overcrowding, delays, new systems of payment, etc. But I also see kindness to strangers practiced in meaningful ways: giving up a seat to an older person or mother with small children, willingness to give directions, speaking kindly to a homeless person, reminding someone who snoozed off that his/her stop is next. Similarly, wherever people are gathered for shopping, exercise, entertainment, there will be opportunities to observe and practice a brief moment of kindness.
2/5/2019 03:14:12 pm
Rita, I love the way you use your time on SEPTA to notice interactions among people, especially small acts of kindness. Sometimes when I'm walking or driving, I notice people who seem to be really enjoying their walks with their dogs or interacting with their children, rather than being plugged into the phone or stressing about where they need to be next.
Dana Book Reisboard
2/8/2019 09:00:22 am
I agree, it is during those small moments like on the bus. But I love how present you are to notice that. I think that is a lot of what mindfulness is about.
2/12/2019 12:42:11 pm
Revisiting the PRESence pause from the previous chapter and the heart coherence technique are strategies I have focused on. I like the reminder on pg. 68 that mindfulness can be "thought of as a game, an eternal challenge to remain present "... this is a book we can highlight and return to routinely. The Artist's Date and the Loving Kindness mantra are completely new to me and two practices I really want to use! Have always wanted to gather my poems and writings into one place, so maybe some purposeful planning would help and I just wrote the loving kindness mantra on a card where I will see it every morning. Happy and Healthy, in that order, were always my prayer for my own children and those I have taught...if you have those two, you can achieve whatever you set your mind to...This is an inspired book :)
RITA A SORRENTINO
2/13/2019 08:20:54 am
2/12/2019 06:18:13 pm
In Chapter 4, page 72, I stopped and reread this part: "Our own presence brings forth others' presence. When you offer others quiet, peace of mind, and gentleness, a tranquility will emerge." Then, on page 79, Lisa discusses the concept of 'mirror neurons' which explains the biological rationale for why students tend to respond more positively to a teacher who is managing her or his stress. I find these concepts to ring true but also to set up a challenge for many teachers -- how to maintain a positive presence in the midst of stressful situations? Looking at Lisa's suggestions for the classroom and reflecting on my own experience, it seems that students of all ages and their teachers would benefit from taking short 'breaks' for reflection (silent, spoken, or written) at points of transition between or within classes. How different would our days look and feel if we acknowledged that we all have stress and integrated strategies for presence and mindfulness into our routine?
RITA A SORRENTINO
2/13/2019 08:47:05 am
2/21/2019 07:36:37 am
Janice, as I read your comment I recalled a similar situation I encountered. One morning before school, a very upset 1st grade parent cornered me with his daughter in tow, to discuss his daughter's behavior. She had missed some of her recess due to her choices during play. Her dad, an attorney, was angry that she missed any recess for no reason. I calmly asked him to sit down with me on the bench outside the office. I softly asked him to tell me why he had come and to explain his concerns. When he began, he was loud and agitated. A fellow teacher walked by and asked if I was OK. I nodded. As I calmly faced him nodding and reassuring him that I understood what he was saying, he began to speak more softly and settled down. I believe that my calm and reassuring behavior made him feel calm and listened to. Eventually, with his daughter's assistance he discovered that she had not explained that she missed some of her recess to discuss why she had pulled down the pants of a child at recess. Her dad decided the situation had been handled and a bit embarrassed said goodbye. I appreciate the ability to pause and be present.
2/21/2019 08:25:28 am
Toni, I can definitely relate to that story, and I'm sure a lot of others can too. It's so easy to react emotionally to someone else's emotional reaction, and so much better for everyone to wait, listen, and respond in a more rational way (unless it's an actual emergency). I have to remind myself of the many times I was glad that I didn't say something before I had all the information, or better understood where the other person was coming from.
2/22/2019 08:56:35 am
Rather than feeling overwhelmed by the wealth of wonderful ideas in Practicing Presence, I was encouraged by Lisa Lucas, with her warmth and sincerity, to start small and make a plan. I noticed that my short list had one common element: all involved pausing for some breathing space. For me, pausing to breathe throughout the day would be a learned behavior. In the past, any real pausing took place at the end of the day in the form of collapsing on the sofa.
3/2/2019 11:26:48 am
Completely off topic, but I couldn’t imagine this forum not being aware of a phenomenal newly published book by Janice Ewing and Mary Bukelew :Action Research for English Language Arts Teachers:
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