I am a high school teacher, who is very interested in bringing mindfulness into the classroom as a tool for students to feel less anxious and more present. I have tried bringing this into the classroom by introducing Inner Explorer to my Grade 9 Special Education math class. Initially I was very hesitant since I felt that my students would be very reluctant to try this, and that I might get a lot of push back.
Day 1 went well, though many students felt it was “weird”. However, many students said they felt calm during the 8 minutes. There was a fair bit of fidgeting, but surprisingly no giggles or silliness during any of the breathing suggestions throughout the audio.
Day 2, most students chose to put down their heads, and it scared me to think many were tuning out the audio. But quite a few after the fact said that they were listening and trying the breathing practices - it just helped them to relax by putting their heads down. One student in class struggled a lot because he found it very challenging to just remain in his seat; he felt restricted and it wasn’t helping him relax (this individual has a severe case of ADHD and has recently been off his medication). His fidgeting was also disrupting a few students around him, and they brought this up with me after.
Day 3, I got busy in the day to day stuff, and somehow forgot to start class with Inner Explorer. 15 minutes into class, a student brought it up and wanted to do it!! (success?!?) We paused what we were doing, and began the 8 minute audio. The student who had difficulty relaxing in day 2, asked to lie down on the floor, since he said it would help him feel better. I said sure, and next day I will bring a few yoga mats. This was the best 8 minutes of mindfulness we’ve had as a class so far. Almost everyone was engaged, and even the student who was very fidgety before, said he felt relaxed after. The few students who haven’t bought into it yet, I’m hoping will give it a try at least in the next few weeks.
So far, I am extremely happy with trying out Inner Explorer in the classroom, even though I’ve only used it for three days. Advice I was given by a colleague that I feel is quite accurate was that, “Students who are the most reluctant to try it, are probably the students who need it the most. So keep trying.” And that’s what I will do… slowly but surely.
Thanks for reading! I would love to hear any experiences you might have had with Inner Explorer in the classroom.