It is now January and again we have had some students leaving and new ones starting. I am not sure why this is happening. In previous years we would have a full class by the end of September. All the kids were coming from a psychiatric hospital because they had some kind of psychotic event in their lives.
This year seems to be different. The kids that came this year seemed to be younger – all under 18, and some were accepted with a diagnosis of behavioral disorders only. Perhaps this is the reason why the matching of the program to the needs of the client is not as good as in previous years. And hence we still seem to have some people coming and going and then newcomers starting so late in the year.
For me as a teacher it makes the work a little harder. The new kids take their time to get accustomed to me and to doing yoga. More students now, then in previous years, are resistant to “exercise” or even the idea of exercising. It’s disruptive for the group and difficult for me to overcome. I also see more of an attitude in some of the teenagers. They seem to “know better” and when they don’t want to do exercises they will fake a “back pain” etc.
On the other hand, I currently have 2 students who have difficulty maintaining focus. At times they can be very disruptive in the class without really intending to do so – they just have an attention span of a 4 year old. I discussed this with counselors and asked for their support. We came up with a solution, which seems to have worked so far – both students set their mats at the end of the room with 2 counselors doing yoga next to them. This appears to help them keep their focus and be less disruptive in the class.
And so we end up with a class usually divided into three. There are those in the front row – whom really enjoy yoga and work at it with full dedication. They seem to report the most benefits after the class. And then there are those in the back row consisting of the students who would rather be somewhere else. The middle row is made up of those who just came fresh into the program and really do not know what yoga is about.
For me as a teacher this division in the room presents a challenge. How do I conduct the class? There are those that want to be here and those that I have to work really hard at engaging because they’d rather be somewhere else. There are those that are attentive and those who cannot hold their focus (or asana) for more then 15 sec. There are those that know Breath of Fire and those who have no idea how to breathe deeply. There are those who have been in the program for half a year now (4 students), those who came in September (4 students) and those who just came in the last 3 weeks (4 students). I also know that soon 3 students will move on and we’ll have 3 more new students coming in…
And so 12 students with such a mixture of attitudes and physical abilities in one room and in one class makes for a very challenging time for me. Sometimes I succeed in making it fun for them and sometimes not… but lately I leave the class quite exhausted at the end…and I run out of ideas how to make it stimulating for them…