Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The teacher who started yoga for her health and tackled bullying in schools

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This is the story of a woman who changed her life. As he thought this change might be useful to others, he proposed it to the class where he taught, to his colleagues, then to the school and finally to his city. The teacher’s name is María Celeste Rodríguez and she teaches at the Carlos Pellegrini de Federación public school in a town of 16,000 inhabitants in the northeast of Entre Ríos province on the Argentine coast.

After suffering from a deep vein thrombosis in one of his legs, Rodriguez began practicing yoga to improve circulation. What began as a medical recommendation was the first step on the path to self-knowledge. “I began to see within myself what I used to see outside. When I started feeling that awakening within me, I wanted to take it to my students,” said the teacher.

Rodriguez presented a project at her workplace to incorporate some yoga techniques into her first grade. Thus was born El Rincón de la Paz. The boys were providing some blankets to lie on, pillows and other items associated with the feeling of peace.

Children Practicing One Of The Yoga Classes.
Children practicing one of the yoga classes.Lucrecia Gutierrez

“I started working with my students who were six years old at that time. We had a peace corner available when there was a conflict in the classroom or an emotion we couldn’t control. Nobody sent them. They had that option when they needed a moment of peace or reflection”, he explains.

Before reaching that small space, boys learned to sit in a circle on the floor or at a table, challenging a certain rigid vision of education. They began to identify feelings, validate them, and were able to count them. One day, even the boys themselves cornered their “teacher”.

“The day after my grandfather died, I went to work as usual and told the boys that I was sad about it. They all stopped without saying anything to me and took me to their place. It was something beautiful because it It resonated with them that I needed this,” he recalls.

The boys’ parents and their fellow teachers began to appreciate Celeste’s work. His idea was expanding: He jumped from the small space of a classroom into the recess of a school with about 700 students. “Then he was born yoga on vacationwith a small example of meditation and Posture (Yoga Asanas). The boys, even the older children, responded brilliantly to the tools”, says the teacher.

They also made it an “act of love” according to Rodriguez. The youngest boys handed out to their older classmates some pieces of paper with the message: “You’re cute.” “I love you”. “I like your smile”.

“We try to give children the space to resolve conflicts without the ever-present intervention of the teacher, who can adapt them. go beyond the boundaries imposed by subjects. If the child lives, feels and thinks, we should aim for dialogue-centred teaching. I had more ‘no’ than ‘yes’ along the way. However, I Decided to go ahead with it.”

from a classroom to an entire city

In 2018, Rodriguez was voted the Federation’s “Outstanding Educator” as a result of the initiative; It is an award given to only one teacher from each of the province’s 17 departments. “Yoga improves a child’s school performance, helps control nervousness, reduces aggression, develops attention span and concentration, and enhances memory capacity, as well as strengthens self-esteem.” does,” his school said in a document sent to the province’s education ministry to justify his candidacy.

“Yoga has a direct impact on the coexistence of boys with their classmates, both inside the classroom and during breaks. The activity became institutionalized and was extended to other groups of students. In addition to recess, Celeste began going to other grades to implement yoga in special classes such as physical education,” said Mariana Grigolato, substitute director of the Carlos Pellegrini school.

After the implementation of yoga techniques in his school, bullying “reduced significantly,” says Grigolato. “Like other schools there were episodes and some fights. Now, as a result of the work we do on yoga and peaceful coexistence, we do not have any problems with bullying or aggression among boys. In addition, performance improved primarily in reading and concentration.

Maria Celeste Assists A Child During Class.
Maria Celeste assists a child during class.Lucrecia Gutierrez

Gisela Stivanello, the mother of a 12-year-old girl who attends the Pellegrini school, told how she resolved a conflict in the classroom. “She is as smart as she is shy; It is difficult for you to connect, build relationships and share with others. At school, he faced conflict with one classmate in particular. At first you think they’re things for girls, but they can end up being affairs of Naughty”, Dice.

The matter reached the teachers’ room, where a solution was sought. “The topic was discussed in class without naming it. My daughter did yoga with Girl in Struggle. The task involved being blindfolded, touching a partner’s face, and based on that guessing who it was. That and other actions brought about a change in attitude. And that girl started talking to my daughter and exchanging some activities with her.

Celeste Rodríguez today is a yoga teacher as well as an elementary school teacher. Offer training workshops to colleagues who want to implement the techniques in their own classrooms. “something that is not easy because teachers must first of all encourage themselves to work with themselves.” Recently, she was called in from a secondary school that has a particularly problematic curriculum. Intervening with teenagers is no easy task. “Social conditioning, anger, pride, jealousy, envy are stronger… Asking for forgiveness is more costly. This does not happen immediately as it happens in children. We talked about the problem of feedback and ways to avoid conflicts.”

Celeste’s work makes sense when listened to by a mother who appreciates her intervention. Or that the director should be proud of the award he has won and the “beneficial contribution of yoga” to children. She calmly talks about issues like mutual love and recognition of each other. “Bullying can be avoided if we understand that we are all important. And without care no one can survive. We need more and more healthy coexistence. You know why? Because I am with you I live and you live with me. I try to carry that message not only in words but also in actions.”

Nation World News Desk
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