If you know me at all, you know I love teaching yoga to teens and tweens. I wrote recently about how the things I enjoy the most about this age group are also what make them challenging to teach at times. I don’t find them to be challenging very often, but they really got me recently.
About a month ago, the middle school teachers who host my class each week and I had an idea to have the kids make eye pillows. Sometimes I bring eye pillows in from the studio – they love them. We thought they would like to have their own and to choose what essential oil to add to it.
I purchased the supplies (this craft is very easy and inexpensive) and was so excited to do something different with this group. Their behavior was terrible. They were loud, throwing the eye pillows, making a huge mess, and not listening to instructions, which has the potential to be dangerous when you’re talking about essential oils that someone could get in their eye. There were 24 kids, and maybe 5 of them followed instructions, appreciated the activity, and enjoyed their eye pillow during a long savasana after the craft.
The teacher was so frustrated and had to send one student to the office. It was such a disappointment. All I could think about was how I would do it differently if I could do it all over again. It’s easy to say now with hindsight vision, but that day I gave this group too much leeway and trusted them to be mature enough to follow instructions and use good judgement. Because they typically are so well-behaved, I didn’t think for a moment this activity would go awry.
The teacher was very gracious, and although she was not happy about how the session went, she told me that many factors contributed. For one, it was the week after Thanksgiving and two weeks before winter break. In her experience, the kids are more rambunctious and ready for a break. In addition, because of the weather, the kids had not been outside as much as usual. They were stir crazy. This was a great lesson learned for me and something to take into consideration in the future when I decide to change up the format of a class. Try to think of contributing factors, and have a plan b!
I was disappointed, but I realized that it’s my job to meet them where they are. On that day, they were rowdy and had cabin fever. Giving them an activity with a lot of freedom wasn’t the best idea. A class with more structure may have been a better choice. Like adults, they have good days and bad days and days when they feel more or less motivated, or tired or sick. They are kids, after all, and this is why I love them.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to teach yoga and mindfulness to tweens/teens, join NGY in Columbus, OH at Bexley Yoga for Yoga for Tweens & Teens this June!
Amy earned her 200-hour adult yoga certification from Yoga with Laurel in Columbus Ohio. She completed Aroma Yoga teacher training with Tracy Griffiths at The Life Energy Institute and a comprehensive Business Consulting program with Mindbody Online. She is currently pursuing her 95-hour Kids Yoga certification with Next Generation Yoga, as well as, her 300-hour Advanced Teacher Training certification with Inhale Thrive. She is also the Owner/CEO of Next Generation Yoga and Bexley Yoga & Barre in Columbus, OH.