The Power of Being in an Exceptional Class!
One of the greatest words of advice that I received as a teacher was: “It is not what you want to teach, but what the student wants and is ready to learn,” (Mary Stacey). Over the years I have had many opportunities to prepare a lesson plan, be prepared for the class before it arrives, and within 30 seconds of everyone’s arrival I know the lesson plan is going out the window for the day. There may have been a tragedy in someone’s life, there may have been a hard day, there may have been an exciting adventure, and there may be a personal hill someone is not ready yet to climb. Every day is different and so are our needs and so are our students needs.
When I have taken the time to heed Miss Mary’s advice, I have always grown. I have grown as a person, as a friend and as a teacher. It is when I have taken the time to read the emotions of my class, acknowledged their level of energy, and listened to the space between their words, that I have heard their needs in a different direction. It is always a day of learning, and it has always been successful.
Today was a great example of such occasions. Today was Tai Chi class. It was our last class for the session, and this class had been incredibly magical, insightful, inspirational and powerful. I wanted to do something special that would take my students to a new place of discovery and of hope. To a place where they could be more than they had imagined. This is not always a goal I have for Tai Chi class, usually it is about learning the moves, expanding movement and rehearsing the patterns. Today was different.
In preparation this morning my own body was not up to par. I needed to find my own energy, get rid of my plugged nose and my sore throat and to find inspiration for teaching. I reached for one of my favorite tools: Sound Essences. These powerful energy sprays can change so much in a person. With a full Chakra, Meridian, Energy Balance I was quickly on my game. That would be the most incredible treat to share with my students.
We began class with this balance. Each student chose something they wanted to change in their life. This class chose BIG examples and they were dreaming equally BIG. I began the balance, and then reached into my bag for one more tool – My Inner Smile Meditation. This meditation grew out of healing work I had done for my daughter’s cancer. It helped her to focus on different aspects of her body and to send healing light into each part. It helped her calm and it empowered her. This event was no different. My students dove into their dreams with deep surrender. They empowered themselves as they never had before. When we finished the final part of the sound essences and brought their entire energy grid together, they were radiating.
We continued into Tai Chi with an emphasis on bringing the inner changes and the subconscious changes into our bodies, and then connecting them between brain and body. Using the Tai Chi ruler we connected Heaven and Earth with the Microcosmic Orbit. There were smiles of pure delight on my students faces. Then, we performed the movement of the Tai Chi set beginning with the bow and sending gratitude to those who had shared their knowledge before and those who will continue after us. The movement was smooth, connected and calm. We then discussed a few movement challenges and repeated the movement patterns. The second time through was the icing on the cake. This was when our brain and body had completely connected the work and the shift for everyone was complete.
The challenges my students were facing were huge. They were big life events that had shook them to their cores and had plagued them for years. Today they made a decision that life would be different. With the help of many aspects of my training, we were able to really pull goal setting, emotional understanding and movement together to make a difference in everyone’s lives.
At the end of class we talked about the potential this day had given everyone. My students were so grateful they had chosen to take the class, make a commitment to be at class, and although they had reasons to miss today, they made it happen anyway. Wow. The magic was worth the sacrifices. As a teacher, it was so gratifying to send them on their way with a new vision, determination and a plan for success.
I am so glad for Mary’s words so many years ago. As has always been the case when I have chosen to remember these words, magic happens. Facing the unknown, following instinct and honoring the learning path of the student has always been so gratifying. And, from their learning, I learnt a few new things myself about my techniques, the advancement of the techniques and the power of being in a class.