Since students and teachers in the middle school have started practising
Meditation, there is a more positive, relaxed, calm feeling in the whole school.
by Global Good News staff writer
9 April 2010
In a short film about the introduction of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) Programme in a California public middle school, the Assistant Principal reports the school is located in a very high stress environment, where there is a lot of violence in the neighbourhood. Because of this they need to have grief counselling on site at the school and post traumatic stress disorder counselling.
‘Transcendental Meditation was reputed to be a programme that could help both staff and students,’ the Assistant Principal said. ‘We'd really done a lot of work for students although we knew we needed more, but we hadn’t really gotten into a plan that would help staff as well.’
They were told Transcendental Meditation could help with burnout and stress-related health problems, and so she said, ‘“Mmm….” and they said it was easy, so I said “Mmm… Let's get some folks to go over and find out what it's about.”’
A Special Education Teacher at the school commented that ‘I'm old and I'm Irish and I basically disbelieve anything until I see it and until I try it. So when [Transcendental Meditation] was suggested, I thought "Uhuh...I am willing, I am open minded,” but I didn’t really believe that it could possibly work. Teenage students, 12 and 13 year olds sitting quiet—not! but seeing is believing—and it's amazing.’
A seventh grade student said that when he learnt Transcendental Meditation, he noticed it was different ‘because TM is not just closing your eyes, it's deeper than that. It makes you feel better, makes you more energized and takes away all your stress. It really, really helps.’
A Teacher’s Assistant at the school reported that kids used to get upset at nothing. Now, 'instead of going into fits, there'd be a lot of talking,’ he said. ‘But even that's down. I think what happens is that when there's less stressors in the air or when people feel less stressed, [that] pervades the whole place. The adults feel differently. The stresses are gone so we all feel differently; we act differently, the kids are acting differently.’
An 11-year old sixth grade student comments that the school used to be very loud. ‘Now it's all mellow and calm. It's how a high school's supposed to be.’
A fellow sixth grade student, aged 12, adds that ‘When you're in class it's quieter than it normally is. You pass down the hallways you can’t hear anything but the teacher.’
A third student comments that she wants to do her work ‘and I get better grades when I want to do my work. Instead of somebody telling me to do my work.
‘I can control my temper more. If someone gets up in my face and starts talking about me, I can ignore them now, but before I would probably snap and be like “Well, let's fight then.” But now I can control it.’
The school’s Social Studies teacher says that there was a time when he felt he was going to retire. ‘I felt overstressed,’ he says, ‘but ever since then [learning Transcendental Meditation], the group of eighth grade teachers, we come together and we do meditation during our break period, seventh period, and it's such a relaxing thing. Again I actually look forward to it.
‘Right after sixth period I put my stuff away and I'm ready. I'm walking the hallway collecting all the teachers because after that twenty minutes [of Transcendental Meditation] you just feel revived. I'm ready to go another mile.
‘I'm less stressful at work,’ he continues. ‘My students also comment “What's going on with you? Why are you so happy today?” I'm not moody anymore. Also my health—I've been doing great, going to the gym. I find a lot of energy after work. Usually before when I got home, I'm through; I'll just have a meal, go to bed, and I'm done.
‘But now I get home, relax, have a snack, and then go to the gym and work out, full of energy and life.’
‘We get to start our day in a calm and relaxed manner and we get to end our school day in a calm and relaxed manner,’ said the school Guidance Counsellor. He comments that they’ve seen a reduction in the number of referrals to the school Counselling Office.
Since Transcendental Meditation started, he said, ‘I don’t know if it's because the teachers are feeling less stressed and they can handle the crises more effectively in the classroom, or if the students are feeling more a sense of calmness within themselves or acting out less.
‘Maybe it's a combination of the two things, but we have definitely seen a change in the number of referrals to the Counselling Office which, of course, is a positive thing and allows me to have a little more free time to do some things that I should really be doing and not handling as many crisis situations.’
Finally, the Principal of the school comments that he is the principal of a school where people donate things and when someone donates a book or a computer, it has a life of its own. After that it's no longer relevant to this situation.
‘It goes back to the proverb about teaching the man to fish,’ the Principal continued. ‘If you give him a fish for dinner, he's had dinner, but if you teach him how to fish, he'll be able to go out and get his own fish.’
He feels this is what the Transcendental Meditation Programme is able to give to kids. ‘This is not something that's just going to be for this year and next year,’ he said. ‘It's something that they will be able to have as a life-long tool to use and that is very exciting to me.’
The Principal comments that he could spend $200,000 dollars on outfitting a computer lab for his school and it would have a shelf life of x number of years.
‘The shelf life for this kind of a programme far exceeds that, and it helps the entire school community. Going back to wellness, that's one of the more important things because the programme not only helps the students, but it helps the adults and the interaction between the two.
‘Everybody gains. It takes half an hour a day [15 minutes twice a day] to do this and I think it's time well spent.’
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