My colleagues and I recently finished our first full week of collaborating and planning for the upcoming school year. As I left home each morning, I exited the neighborhood and headed west for school. I would occasionally glance in the rearview mirror to witness sky-filled splashes of copper, lavender, crimson, and blue as the sun began to peek over the majestic mountain range to the east.
It’s a shame that we miss out on so many sunrises throughout the school year. We rush to school when it’s dark. The first lessons of the day begin even before the sun appears, and far too many sleepy eyes are struggling to stay alert. Our busy schedules force us to miss one of the day’s most brilliant moments.
I made a midweek commitment to take time for sunrises. Today, I fulfilled that personal promise. I exited my neighborhood onto that same road I drive daily to a park located on a high point on the west side of the valley. A crew of masked cross country athletes were stretching before a morning run in the distance as I searched for a secluded east-facing bench to begin my new morning ritual.
A refreshing draft carried the muffled voices of athletes through the faint campfire-scented air as they collectively counted down their pre-run stretches. I found a secluded bench to sit and wait for the day’s smoky-salmon sun to surface.
Far too often, the west’s most spectacular sunrises and sunsets are caused by wildfires. The smoke in the air was that day’s proof. Mother Earth, however, knows how to create calm amidst chaos.
While school start times remain beyond control for most teachers, we should seek golden moments for our students. Think about what it would mean as science, art, history, or English teachers to face east with our students for a few minutes in the morning. We could study the juxtaposition of destruction and creation, learn about the science of colors and light, or measure the angles of shadows in relation to the sun’s position in the sky.
This theory is still percolating in my mind, but I believe carefully-planned golden moments to start the day could transform education. What better way could we introduce mindfulness to our students? I am going to test out my theory this year. Who’s with me?
If you are a teacher and have ideas on how we can create golden moments and build mindfulness in ourselves and our students. Feel free to share your thoughts here.