Just Go With It: Channeling my Inner Camel

Last night I was teaching class to a group on pre-service middle school teachers. As part of the class, they have to write five lesson plans. Although I had posted the lesson plan form in a public place, only one student had looked at it.

I’m not going to read a form to college seniors. I’m not even going to go over a form in any detail that they haven’t looked at yet. I did scroll through it (it’s long) and point out how much information they were going to have to supply for it. I then asked if they felt overwhelmed by it all. Many of them nodded yes.

Heck, I felt overwhelmed when I looked at, and I don’t even have to fill it out (I didn’t make this form. Long story about it, but you don’t need to know it).

What do you do with a room full of young teachers who feel overwhelmed and are looking a bit freaked out?

Why –  channel your inner camel.

Seriously. As I stood there looking at them and understanding they were overwhelmed, I realized how much of their feeling was a lot like what I experience when I go into camel. Yes, sometimes (maybe one day a month) camel is OK. Usually though I feel like it is overwhelming and I cannot do it for any number of reasons (I’m tired. I’m too hot. I don’t wanna). That might be similar to how they felt, or will feel, once they get started with the lesson planning process.

So I told them it was fine if they were overwhelmed. I told them it was a normal feeling to have. I told them that if they found themselves feeling overwhelmed to just take a break and then come back to the whole thing later. “Let the dust settle in your brain,” I said, “and the next time you start back up this document will make a little more sense and feel a little less overwhelming. If you feel freaked out and want to send me an email telling me you’re freaked out then do that.”

Here’s the thing: My thought was to encourage them to just take in whatever they were feeling about their assignment, process it, experience it, and then move forward. Just like camel. No matter how you’re feeling in camel, it’s normal. No matter what these students felt, I wanted them to know it was normal. And just like camel, I wanted them to know that each time they got back up to engage with the assignment it would get less foggy and a bit more bearable.

What I didn’t tell them is that just like camel sometimes those feelings over being freaked out and overwhelmed will continue to come up long after you think they’re gone. I didn’t want to ruin the ride for them.




1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Linda
    Sep 12, 2012 @ 06:56:31

    Leigha, your yoga has made you an even better teacher. I wish I had it back when I was teaching. So true about camel, so true. I’ve done Bikram 5 days a week for two years (this month) and the lessons of camel repeat themselves over n over. Great blog!!!


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