[CollegeContemplative is featuring Guest Bloggers from October 2013-February 2014. Welcome, Tami Augustine (Taug4)!]
Hello. My name is Tami Augustine and I am a new contributor to College Contemplative. It is an honor (and a bit scary) to have the opportunity to share my experiences with contemplative and mindful pedagogies.
I am enjoying a rainy day here in Columbus, Ohio, awaiting the return of fall, and reflecting upon the doors that were opened by those who came before me at Ohio State University. While key faculty who focused on contemplative practices have moved to other universities, their work here is honored through those of us who do our best to continue this pedagogical approach. It is a humbling experience, but I am grateful that I can continue to walk on the path they blazed.
During this academic year many of the pieces seem to be falling into place in terms of including contemplative practices with both teacher candidates and in-service k-12 teachers. As an example, the teacher candidates in one of my courses are meditating at the beginning of each class session. It has only been six weeks, but our experiences together have run the gamut. Many started with, “This isn’t working for me” to our last class together, “Wow that was fast. I think we need to go a bit longer next week.” They are so much more open-minded and brave than I ever was in college. The teacher candidates talking to their mentor teachers about their coursework has led to an interest in workshops for in-service teachers who are seeking to bring a sense of balance to the work they do – within the “giant, institutionalized stress-box known as school” so they can function more calmly and effectively. It was an interesting and unexpected development. I hope to share my experiences, most specifically with the teacher candidates, in this blog in the upcoming months.
One thing teaching using contemplative and mindful pedagogies reminds me to do is to tend to my own practice. To remember that it was this practice that helped to guide me here in the first place. At times that is so easily forgotten as I attempt to juggle the many competing demands of life. Yet, and perhaps not surprising, the students that I work with – that I sometimes think I am offering mindfulness practice to – offer it right back to me. This is certainly on of the beauties of this work.