It’s not meetings… it’s CIRCLE TIME!

I always like a quick reflection here and there. And I always do love a few Christmas decorations here and there. But, you see, it’s only the 11th of November – lots more days left – and we are already seeing Starbucks sell your coffee because… ‘you really want that Christmas tree cup.’ I was rather thankful today. The morning shopper in me picked up a £1.50 ultra cute (in my opinion) reusable cup without the trees today – and it still half does have that Christmas feel. Yes, it’s an enjoyable trick starting each morning with ‘ooo what’s good about day.’ It makes my heart love the day despite the weather.

I didn’t just learn that off myself… running taught me a lot… but it was thanks to my course mate, Katie, who passed on: Growing Up Wild. It’s like a modern teaching bible. There are several clever ideas about cultivating a happiness the classroom – starting the day by being grateful is one that I love. Another is the idea of listening to music and singing. Indeed, singing. We had an input recently on teaching music using the Kodaly Method, in which children develop their musical awareness through active singing. Active, is it because you are using a ball or sometimes even a cuddly toy! I would love to teach Early Years – especially after the Nursery placement – so the idea of having a toy and music together seems ideal. Well, perfect… until you realise that my voice is not on the ‘do, me, so’ scale at all. Perhaps, find it on the radio of ‘these are not so good singers!’

But, I will not give up because I know that nursery rhymes and tunes are comforting to kids (and even adults). And, so is something else… who doesn’t love that circle time? Do you know adults have their own circle time? Yes. I’m being serious. Really serious: they’re called ‘MEETINGS.’ Practically, my mind just bores itself and refuses to enter the flow fun track (state of optimal and optimistic performance) when that word is used. The other day, we sat in a (guess the shape…jokes!) circle – and had a lovely conversation. The rules were simple: be nice, be open and be share-sensible. We passed round a pom-pom called ‘Max’ – and it allowed every single student to reach their maximum level of peacefulness. It fostered a ‘we are all in this together….’ Atmosphere. Fantastic.

I am away to read up more about Circle Time now. After my nursery week, it was evident how vital theory is in the teacher’s life. I was blown away (don’t stress… no snowstorms just yet) with how almost perfectly the lessons and reading fits with our practice. And, you know what, it changed me perspective of teaching – and academic research. We recently had a lecture with other avenues in Education. And, no I do not want to leave the classroom: but the idea of eventually doing a big research project is starting to interest me. I need to be with the kids (and outdoors) but at the same time, it would be lovely to find out more about forest nurseries and the theory behind it. I always like endurance events… so somehow that must transfer to reading. Visualising everything helps me greatly. Massively. Magically. I might start drawing smiley stars or happy trees every time I finish a chapter. Yes. I do have too many sharpies for a pencil case to home. (Sorry, highlighter!)

One other aspect I would like to research is the benefit of ‘weight training’ on kids’ academic performance. I recently started lifting (baby weights) at the gym as myself needs to become accustomed to carrying heavy things outdoors! And… I found it helps me to focus. The mental effort required to push through the pain barrier with weights is the same when in the ‘ultra-focus zone.’ Whenever I struggle to concentrate – and my mind drifts to sleepy, feather, padded land – I use the same mindset. Crazy? Perhaps. However, it wonderfully works. Is it that super-flow zone, then? Like Rainbow Road (anyone else play that race track game)? I think it could be. It really could. Anyhow, it’s time to focus on another thing, an urgent thing.

Guess what? Guess what? Do listen up! Placement is tomorrow- yessss!

Basically, I am sooooooooo super excited for tomorrow on placement – and to colourfully see how theory translates into ( what should be) effective classroom practice.  Gratitude mornings will be the first point on my teaching agenda… not that you teach it. You model it. I need to Lead by Example and do the simple things that make our hearts smile. And so, I will finish each week with a Circle Time too. Morning: individual thank you. ‘Evening’: altogether thank you so much (because it’s been a whole day!) Furthermore, if I don’t like (ah no!) formal meetings… then why not simply have relaxed conversations and chats by the ‘board fireplace’ in the classroom. (That’s even for behaviour management). I’ll need to ask my teaching mentor about that!

Eek. I cannot wait. Last thing: is tea allowed for teachers AND students? Yes, I can even get away with the treat of tea in Starbucks once a week thanks to the new mug. But… my pupils aren’t allowed it (fair enough for the young ones). I tutored  a child who was ever so delighted when we had a cup of tea together! Simplicities are luxuries.   Can we just introduce brew to the classroom? Please? And then, well, weekends call for a hot chocolate in real Starbuck- don’t they?! Yes, our one of our lecturers suggested having a drink there to relax. And it works. Perhaps… that’s the time I can then let my mind wander into sunshine, cloud land. That’s my new ‘comfy-focus zone.’