It’s Friday afternoon and what am I doing instead of marking?…..Yep, I’m online AGAIN. While browsing I came across a blog challenge that appealed to me (many don’t, so thank you Mumzilla). It also fits in with the principles of mindfulness too so I thought I’d put the books to one side and give it a go.
Mumzilla’s challenge was to list 5 ‘favourite things’ – maybe from a particular room and explain why they have been chosen. My classroom has been really annoying me recently as it is sooooo messy (one of the first things I always do when my exam classes leave is to sort out my filing so with a week or so to go I am pretty much sinking under paper) and so it was lovely to get the chance to consider the space with ‘fresh eyes’ and find items that ‘spark joy’ (to borrow Maria Kondo’s idea) amongst the piles of crap.
The first thing to catch my eye was….
…my Sheffield NASUWT mug of random pens etc. Not because I’m a particularly active member of a teacher’s union but because I brought it all the way from Sheffield to London 15 years ago after completing my teacher training. I’m pleased it’s been with me in each of the classrooms in the different schools I’ve taught in over the years. Seeing the word Sheffield remind me of my uni days and it also happens to be where I met my hubby too.
The second thing I have selected is…
….a thank you card from a student. Secondary school students aren’t always as forthcoming with cards and pressies as the younger ones (the parents tend not to bother after Year 7) so when you receive something it means a lot and is often the thought of the young person, not their grown up. The words within the cards are often so lovely that they can lift my spirits after a dodgy lesson.
…my old fashioned kings and queens of England chart. Even though I’m a History teacher I’m actually quite rubbish at dates of kings and queens (hence why I need a poster like this) as I’m one of those much maligned History teachers (by the current government anyway) who believes the subject isn’t just about dates but is importantly about skills, empathy and developing understanding of other societies and cultures, so this is quite handy to have around. The chart was actually given to me by my mum years ago when she knew I was increasingly interested in the subject and so is special for that reason too.
Penultimately I have chosen…
…one of my ‘positive thinking’ posters. I know they’re cheesy. I know they’re clichéd but actually they cheer me up and make me work harder so I hope they have a similar effect on at least some of the students too!
And my final choice…
…the bits and bobs that remind me of my own children whilst other people’s children are in my care. I’m not that organised to have lovely framed photos of my children in my workplace but I have a collection of a few things that remind me of my little cherubs. I particularly love the message that my eldest wrote on the front of my smart work notepad one day!
It’s been very valuable getting the chance to really pay attention to the things around me in my working environment. I have come out of ‘auto-pilot’ by doing this task and been more observant and aware of my present situation.
Give it a go yourself.
- Find a room
- Really pay attention to the contents in it
- Pick your favourite things
- Allow the warm, fuzzy feelings of gratitude to follow and enjoy a few mindful moments.
It’s that simple. Enjoy.
NB: This lot narrowly missed out from my list. These and other DVDs like them have saved me on more than one occasion when sleep deprivation is making it all too much! (only when they connect with the particular topic I am teaching of course, I am a consummate professional after all).
Okay, with that in mind I must get back to the marking.