The Being Bangles
Solving problems is instinctual.
People are naturally motivated to action in order to solve problems. This is a productive mindset, one that is highly relevant in an age of high expectations for results from educators.
However, at times this can be counterproductive.
Sometimes the best solution is to do less. For example, think of the parent that is solving math homework for their child (doing), instead of sitting with them and giving them time to solve the problems themselves (being)? Very often, doing less is harder.
Knowing when to "do" and when to "be" is part of finding balance.
Children need varying levels of active assistance and passive guidance. Knowing when to do and when to give is an intuitive act dependent not only on the child but also on the person providing the support. Being vs. Doing is a very prominent psychodynamic theory. A well balanced person can adapt themselves to when it is better to do and when it is better to be. This is especially relevant in the field of education.
Being aware of how much you actually do can help you find that balance.
A healthy awareness of how much you give to you environment can give you a sense of balance and the fortitude to complete your tasks. Think about it. How often have you found yourself thinking, "why did I do that (?)" or the dreaded "I do not do enough?" This in turn contributes to a lowered mood and a paradoxical sense of underachievement. Having the vital habit of reviewing whether to act or not, instead of just automatically taking actions, is highly beneficial. You become more productive because you make good decisions. You feel more attuned to your surroundings. This in turn translates into a more productive classroom dynamic where each child is provided with personalized support adaptive to their own needs. They are free to explore and learn whilst being held in a safe, guiding environment. Finally, you feel better with the outcome of your actions since you allow yourself the time to really see just how much you do, action by action. And trust me, I know, teachers do a lot.
For This Tool You Will Need:
- a pencil
- strong string
- heavy beads
- one empty page
Preparing your Being Bangle
Choose one location where you feel like you do too much. For example, at home, at work, at the gym, in your biology class, when with your children and so on. This will be your "Place of Doing".
Sit down at your Place of Doing and focus on everything you do there, writing it all down on the empty page. Make sure to include everything, including what seems like the most obvious or banal. For example, arriving to class, writing things down, cooking, doing laundry, giving students homework, smiling even when you do not feel like it, and so on. This is your "List of Doing". Add the date onto the top of the list and the end date (16 weeks forward).
Make your Being Bangle, by putting the beads onto the string, slowly reading your whole List of Doing as you go. Tie the string, making sure that your Being Bangle fits comfortably.
Using your Being Bangle
When entering your Place of Doing put your Being Bangle on and take a moment to feel the weight of it.
Try to notice if there are things that you are doing that are not on your List of Doing and ask yourself if you really need to be doing more. Remember that you have a whole list of doing already written down. Ask yourself if it is something that someone else should be doing (e.g. cutting up your adolescent's sausages when they can do it themselves.)
At the end of every week take your List of Doing and read it, editing it if anything needs to be added or removed.
After 16 weeks have passed, stop using this tool. If you feel that you still need it then take two month break and start again.