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.
black women have a unique role in society. we are the most educated group of americans (college wise), creative, loving and all around amazing. some may argue that humans didn’t start off as black, but technically speaking you can’t go from white to black, only from black to white. so i would argue that black women were the first women and responsible for all human life. but that’s not what this post is about. this post is about black women and how we positively affect black students. since schools in the US are still segregated, there are black schools and white schools. in my blog about equity i talked about the fact that black teachers weren’t intergrated with the students and how over half of the black women who were teachers were fired. as a future teacher, i am a strong advocate that kids need teachers that look like them. it makes them feel secure. it helps them grow. i went to all black schools and i have reaped the benefits of being embraced during my educational journey. at the camp that i am working at, I have had the opportunity to be in the classroom with the only black girl at the whole camp (mind you all of the kids are brown but still). one of my other students, who is six, pointed out that i was brown just like Sara. and i was like I am! these things are important. students need to feel represented. they need to see someone who looks like them in a role of power to understand that it is achievable. having black women as teachers has made it so i always knew i could do it too. so i encourage any black woman or man who has an interest in children to please think about pursuing education. it’s a hard job but the reward of affecting lives positively is priceless.
So as you may or may not know, I’ve decided to go into education. I want to change the education system into a system that allows all students to receive a high quality free education, no matter their socioeconomic status. I feel that’s important. So I’ve decided to devote my life to changing the world. My sister told me about the picture below and honestly I was inspired. I realized why I want to teach. Children are so brave and can learn so easily. They take risks and try things and make things work, even if they seem impossible. That’s what I want to be. I want to be brave and try new things and figure out ways to fix things. I want to be fearless. So I will be an educator to inspire the children that inspire me, and change the world one child at a time.