in almost every teaching environment i’ve been in, i’ve always had my students do yoga. i work with elementary schoolers. so why have them do yoga?
well first, it’s a way for me to connect with my students. after any length of time and discussion, they know i love yoga and go often. by sharing some of who i am as mayah, instead of as their teacher, i can connect with them a little more.
second, it’s good for them. yoga has empowered me. it’s helped me feel safe. it’s helped me heal. i want to pass those skills onto my students. deep breathing (pranayama) and movement (asanas) are beneficial to everyone, espeically children. imagine what the world would be like if we all learned to take a minute and breathe? i’ve found it to be helpful when the kids are restless or just need a mental break. it’s not a coincidence i find yoga to be the most helpful for me then. it’s the magic of yoga!
third, they really like it. after doing it as a class a few times, they want to do more. i’ve had students tell me after things like “When can we do yoga again?” “Let’s do that everyday” “Ms. Mayah my head feels better”.
for yoga with my younger students, i focus solely on breathing. mostly due to space issues (i want to ensure they’re safe- kids are naturally clumsy). also, just breathing is yoga.
towards the end of last year, I was debating on what I wanted to major and minor in. I was interested in minoring through the sociology department (it’s called Law, Justice and Social Change). I thought the major would give me more ways to help my students. I want to teach and I always have known that, but I didn’t know if I wanted to do an elementary education major. the course is super specific and i would basically have to give up any opportunity to learn anything else in college. so when i went to the meeting, i knew that i was interested in the minor but didn’t know how i could fit that in, or study spanish (which i want to do so i remain fluent). so when i met with a counselor through the sociology department, she recommended i meet with a professor within the school of education. i met with maria, and honestly it changed my life. she told me that i could major in spanish and minor in whatever i wanted and could go to graduate school to become a teacher. since i already planned on going to graduate school it seemed like a perfect fit. she also wanted me to apply to this program called A2LP, where Michigan students work in Ann Arbor public schools in third or fourth grade to teach spanish and they gain upper level spanish credit (and the upper level credits are necessary to complete the major requirements). i had heard of the program before she mentioned it, but the rest of our conversation is what made me join. she told me she needed black teachers in the program, because there were a lack of black teachers and that students need teachers that they look like. she’s a former principal and she talked about the importance of representation in administration for students. i appreciated her honesty and i know about the importance of representation so i wanted/want to be that role model. so this year I will be teaching Spanish! i will have a teaching partner and i’m super excited. i had to send in a photo and a biography for the parents! so since my last professional photos were done my senior year (almost two years ago!!), I i did a photoshoot in my backyard (see pictures below). My mommy did a great job with the pictures (can you tell her twin brother is a professional photographer/videographer?!) right under this i have the bio i used. i’ve been waiting my whole life to start teaching officially and now the time is coming soon! ill keep you all posted. always remember to follow your dreams, because your happiness is all that matters.
¡Hola! My name is Mayah and I am ecstatic about working with your children this fall! I have been working with kids for a little over four years. Some of my experiences in education include teaching English to Ecuadorian students and working as a translator at Foundations Preschool in Ann Arbor. I am passionate about equitable education for all students so I plan to major in Spanish and attend graduate school to study Elementary Education.
(this is the photo I submitted!)