I once thought that choosing to teach middle school in the 21st century was somewhat of a death wish.
When I was five, I thought I could fly.
I’ve been working towards seeing my thoughts as beneficial or not beneficial instead of as right or wrong. The two thoughts above are generally not very beneficial.
For me, becoming a teacher has shed a big huge blaring light on my inner thought world. Mainly because it is our thoughts(and feelings) that drive the majority of our behaviors. As a teacher my behaviors are constantly under scrutiny, and therefore my thoughts and the way I choose to think clearly impact others on a regular basis. This was an overwhelming revelation for me.
So, this post is about why teachers should meditate before grading.
Here’s my personal anecdote: The other day I took a few essays home in attempts to actually grade them. After I got through one, I noticed myself murmuring swears under my breath and writing with more force than necessary.
My vibe was thrown off so quickly! I’m asking myself like “really? You’re already angry and this is only the second essay?”
So I stopped. I stopped and I decided a better use of my time would be to meditate.
Here are some reasons meditating before grading can be useful:
Meditation is like a massage for the mind. A muddy mind makes for distorted grading practices at best, and a full blown hate crime at worst.
The Eye of the Storm
As an English teacher I obviously read a lot of adolescent writing. Given their age, most of my students have only been writing in academic English for about 7-8 years. I’ve been writing over two decades with ample support from great teachers, and I still feel like I suck at it. I have to remind myself of this when I’m grading and my mean teacher voice comes in my mind telling me to drench their work in red ink. The work
maywill look stormy…but with meditation I can focus on the eye of it all. The progress.
Bye Bye Bias
Teaching is a profession where your biases are most beneficial when you take them and shove them into the proverbial dumpster. On the one hand, your biases make you a bit more interesting and multi-faceted and all that, but at the end of the day grading should have a specific FOCUS. You are deliberately assessing something you feel like you taught. Therefore in a way, I look at it as me testing myself. Testing my teaching skills. So…meditation can help you throw away your personal feelings towards little Talkative Tommy or Destructive Diana, and focus more on your actual job: teaching, assessing, and cultivating healthy relationships with kids.