Getting Around to Them
Two weeks ago, I was in yoga class. Every Tuesday I go to yoga with my (secret) favorite yoga teacher. She is funny and plays good music and I always leave her class feeling great.
For months we have been working on a particular pose, and on that particular night I NAILED it. I was so excited. I knew she was going to be so proud of me.
But she didn’t notice. Instead, she went over and adjusted another girl. She encouraged the other girl. She praised the other girl. And she did not notice me at all, even though I was just killin’ it in the back corner.
I am not proud to say that my feels were hurt. See, this other girl, she looks like a yogi. She is blonde and thin and lithe and sweet and everyone likes her. I like her. The teacher likes her. Who wouldn’t?
Me, I am dark haired and curvy and sweaty. Even when my poses are almost perfect, they look like they are being done by a transformer, like the parts all end up in the right place, but there is a lot of clicky, mechanical robot work to get there. Of course the teacher didn’t notice me. My pose probably didn’t look that great after all. From that moment on, my practice went from exceptional to frustrating.
Lying on the floor that night, I started thinking about how I can learn from this experience, instead of feeling sorry for myself. How I can relate this to my own teaching. I started thinking about all the kids in my class who might just be nailing it in the back corner and I don’t always have time to get around to them. How they might feel if they look over and see me helping someone else with an essay, praising someone else for their progress.
I started thinking about how everyone, especially the quiet kids who work hard without ever being stellar, how ALL OF THEM need a little feedback now and then. How they all, however privately, yearn to be told they are doing good work. I realized how many feelings I might inadvertently be hurting.
And I determined to do better.
Sure, there are those kids, like my blonde yogi buddy, who stand out. They deserve all the attention and positive feedback they get. But I need to go further, to the proverbial back row, because the kids there might be making amazing strides, too.
In fact, of course they are. And a good teacher makes time for all of them.
I know this because last night, my favorite yoga instructor whispered encouraging, kind things to me twice. And though I know yoga is a journey and progress is personal and all that spiritual crap, it still felt good to be acknowledged and recognized.
So good, in fact, that I am going to make sure I provide that feeling to all of my students at least once this week.