the other day, i met a new guy and as i talked, he was sitting there with the most beatific smile, hanging on my every word as if i were the most beautiful and scintillating woman on earth. and all i kept thinking was “awwwwwww…isn’t that cute?” the guy was five years old. well…almost five.
he was joining one of my mini yogis classes that day with one of his friends and we all had a few minutes to bond over finger food before class started. this boy was absolutely entranced with me. he laughed at all my jokes, answered all my questions, and i thought, “phew! i’ve got this kid wrapped around my little finger. he’s going to be a great listener in yoga.”
if only it were that simple!
when we rolled out the mats, my five-year-old admirer suddenly became that obnoxious guy at the bar who tries to get your attention by being arrogantly aloof, defiant and smugly smiley…showing off for the other kids how cool he really is. cool guys don’t listen to teachers. and they never allow themselves to be wrapped around some broad’s finger.
how did this precious little peanut become such a pint-sized recalcitrant nightmare? ultimately, it was probably my fault. when you are too jokey or chummy with a child before class, all they want to do with you is joke and play. you can’t just go from shana-clown to shana-yoga-teacher…no matter how fun you make the class. it’s like a bait-and-switch.
as with all men, there is a fine balance between getting the little guys to fall under your spell, but also always reminding them who’s really boss.
i have this precious eight-year-old who loves school, loves reading, loves homework. clearly, i don’t have to mention that she is a pretty special kid.
the other day, at the end of class, she enthusiastically suggests: “you know, this is a class…you should assign homework! can you give us some homework?” by the smile on her face, you would have thought she was asking for a triple chocolate cake with reese’s peanut butter cups between the layers, rich ganache, and a frosting that was just the right amount of soft, just the right amount of bite…but i digress…
needless to say, despite her enthusiasm, the other kids in the class were less than amused by the suggestion. but there was no way i was about to wipe that smile of this girl’s face. i know from repeated discussions that i’ve had with her in the past that she gets bullied at school and painfully ridiculed. it was super-important that i validate her suggestion and her in the process.
so i told her that was a great suggestion (which it is! and i assign homework for my kids a lot!), while reassuring the others that yoga homework is easy homework. what i assigned this particular group was to use their calming ujjayi breath whenever they felt sad, or frustrated, or angry, or scared, and tell me the next week how it went.
the kids were fine with that homework and any frustration they may have had with my brilliant little student quickly dissipated. what’s more, she was very proud of herself and left class with the same happy smile. 😀
for more omwork tips, log on to next weekend’s free mini yogis minute tip of the week. or check in on this week’s fabulous tip on owning your classes.