yoga and teaching

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.

summer campĀ 

So I originally planned to do this documentary of my adventures inQuito in order but I decide to start by talking about why I’m here. So I am working at a summer camp, in the five to seven year old classroom with five other tutors. Our classroom is at the beginning of the school, and the older students and their tutors are up on the hill. All of the tutors are in college, but the tutors from our partnering university, University of San Francisco Quito are planning to be teachers. I’ve really enjoyed the teaching experience. At the beginning it was a little awkward mostly because it’s hard to understand little kids. But as time has gone on I’ve gotten very comfortable and created good relationships with the other tutors and students. I like the camp because there is a focus on education and teaching the kids but it’s a healthy balance between studying  and having fun. Learning should be fun for children and my personal goal is that we all have a good time. The camp started on the tenth and will run until the twenty eighth. My focus in the class is the English lessons, along with helping other activities go smoothly. I have a picture from the lesson we did last week about english introductions! I also lead the morning song so that the kids will have a fun way to start the day. Normally I sit at the table with the youngest group of students, most of the, are five and a couple are six, so they need a lot of attention. It makes me happy to be able to help them. A bonus is that we ar at the point where they are beginning to remember my name! Little kids often don’t pay enough attention to remember names and because my name is a Hebrew name, it’s not a name that they are used to. But all is going well! Enjoy picture of our classroom! 

the importance of black teachers

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. 

Inspiration and Education

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.