Classroom management can make or break an educator. This is why, during our Level 3 Transformations Training, we talk a lot about classroom management. We teach what we know works — and we ask our students to share their own success stories. From YK Apprentice Beth Clemenger came this awesome story of success…
As a school counselor, I work with students with a variety of disabilities: autism, ADHD, learning issues of many varieties, and others. Several of my students have behavior issues and can be disruptive to other kids.
Last year, I got a new student. She was 9 and recently adopted from an international orphanage. She was, for the most part, nonverbal and had no concept of appropriate behavior. We decided to try her in my yoga class that only had 5 students. Also, in this class, I had a boy that would challenge me often by saying” I hate this pose” or “why are we doing this?”
I decided to talk to the boy about being the “mentor” for this girl. He had already had contact with her as she was in his class. She had a 1:1 aide with her at all times for safety as she would try to bolt out of the building.
Well, the first class was a disaster! The aide was so upset because she could not get the girl to “do the yoga poses.” The mentor boy was upset because the aide was doing his job.
I talked to the aide about it being okay if she just sat on her mat — that was the first goal. I added more engaging music, put a breathing buddies on each mat at the beginning of the class, used more props (such as hula hoops, scarves, balls, bubbles, balloons, marbles). This was really engaging for the nonverbal girl and it gave my mentor boy a way to “show “her how to use the props.
I also had to explain to the other kids how to best interact with this girl — so that her behavior did not upset them or disrupt their yoga experience. We moved her mat a little toward the back and placed the mentor boy directly in front of her. The rest of the students knew that this boy was her “helper.” I also asked the aide to participate doing the poses with the class. This helped greatly. Rather than having an adult correcting the modeling, the girl was better able to engage with the yoga.
We love this story so much. The techniques engage and empower both students. Well done, Beth! Thank you for sharing!