This week marked my return to teaching yoga in the school system, after a little break. While gathering my mini yoginis, the program coordinator brought one particular student to my attention. Interestingly enough, she was not the one that ended up having the Big T in class, but I believe may have contributed to the meltdown that occurred.
It is completely normal for a child who is unfamiliar with yoga (or any new activity) to feel uncomfortable or unsure of his or her abilities. Heck, that goes for adults too! Just this past weekend, I had a mom tell me how nervous she was because she had never been to any yoga class before. But I digress. Insecurities plague everyone of all ages and can be detrimental if not addressed in a healthy manner.
The instance that I am sharing today included not only a first time yogini, but she was also a tired and hungry kindergartener that is known for speaking her mind. From the beginning of class, she was clearly not interested in the activities or stories and quickly wound up twisted on the floor obstructing other kids from participating in the class. Things I stopped her from doing included almost jumping onto the stomach of another girl, blow/spitting in another girl’s face, touching projects in the room that weren’t ours, etc. At one point, she had enough and said she didn’t want to do the class anymore and tried to run out of the room. I made it to the door first and said she could sit quietly in the chair for the rest of class or I could take her to the program director. Things spiraled quickly from there and we found ourselves in the middle of a full blown tantrum, complete with screaming and thrashing. She then proceeded to tell me she was allergic to poses and her parents told here she shouldn’t do them. When I told her she didn’t have to do the poses and I would let the program director know her feelings, she went into full tantrum mode screaming and thrashing. She didn’t want to stay, didn’t want to leave, didn’t want to listen and certainly wasn’t interested in the class. I sent one of the older girls for the program director and one of the counselors also came in. They took her out of the class and said they would have a conversation with her parents. Later, I was informed that she was not going to be readmitted to the program.
It breaks my heart to have something like this happen in class for a number of reasons. The other students lost close to one quarter of this class to this disruption. And I can only imagination the amplification of such an outbreak in the mind of the youngling that had the meltdown. As guides, we have to remember to remain calm and compassionate no matter what the situation might be. Hopefully, no instructor will ever be in the situation where they are alone with multiple children and will have someone that they can call in for reinforcements. It’s completely necessary for events like this or simply to help with a potty break. If I did not have the cavalry that rode in to diffuse this situation, I would have had to contact the parent and probably end class early.
In short, always keep your calm and don’t take it personally. Know when and to whom you should escalate your situation to (program director, studio manager, etc) or have parent contact information available in the case of a drop-off event. I am all for second chances. But if you or a student has been blatantly disrespected, use your best judgement. There is absolutely no reason why you or anyone else should have a negative experience because of one person.