While the following applies to all students, it is particularly important with new students.
- Students want to be seen, to be acknowledged, and to feel included.*
- Students need to be observed, to be attended to, and to practice safely.
- Thus, your personal attention to each student, particularly new students, is critical.
*Balancing the Needs for Both Acknowledgement & Space
Some students may feel awkward or uncomfortable, or carry inherent shame, and experience that as wanting to “be left alone.” How might you respect such experiences, and reconcile needs for inclusion and space?
- One way is to begin with empathy. We might think about the desire we all have to feel safe, and how new situations may invoke anything from slight worry to strong anxiety.
- A new undertaking of any sort may invoke fear and yoga in particular is likely to expose our weaknesses and may trigger unresolved issues.
- When such fears arise, some students will react by seeking more attention while others will want to “blend into the woodwork” and be left to their own devices.
- No matter their triggered reactions, the fundamental need for all students is to feel safe and included. Thus, how you acknowledge and include each student while respectfully giving them the space they need, will help to make them more comfortable as they adapt to the situation.
- Of course, teachers don’t know what’s going on inside every student. To know who needs more space and what types of attention they are comfortable with requires observation and wisdom plus some experimentation.
- Wise teachers do their best to remember the vast array of potential experiences and to stay grounded in order to observe carefully and respond mindfully.