Teachingbuddha meditation jeffreyseitzer.com

Coping with difficult students through Buddhist meditation

The school year is fast approaching. Teachers need to prepare themselves to cope with student cluelessness and ineptitude. You produce a detailed syllabus, go over course requirements, make clear the schedule of lectures, readings, exams, due dates, and yet none of it sinks in. Students will contact you constantly to ask about these very matters. They will also miss deadlines, not follow proper form, you name it. This apparent inability of students to conduct themselves responsibly and effectively is very frustrating for teachers.

Buddhist meditation cannot help students take responsibility for themselves and their performance. It can, however, help you better cope with your understandable frustration with them. More specifically, it can help you feel compassion for them and perhaps even love them. Transforming your feelings toward them, in turn, can help them take more responsibility for themselves and perhaps actually perform better.

During the first week of the semester, I do what is known as a giving and taking meditation for my students. I imagine them having a black pit of negativity in their hearts. Breathing in I draw the blackness gradually out of them and into myself. Exhaling I send light and love into each of them. Eventually, i have drawn the blackness totally into myself. It sits heavily in my heart. I then send light down into myself, causing the black pit to explode, sending light and love throughout me as well as my students.

I do this meditation as often as necessary until I feel love for my students. Loving them does not mean that I am easy on them. I still enforce rules, give bad grades, refuse to grant deals on requirements, etc.   However, I feel no resentment toward them. Instead, I look upon them with loving eyes, and they feel it. Knowing that I care about them helps them perform better and not be angry about having to complete requirements in a timely, appropriate way.

Please try it this semester. It may make teaching much more enjoyable for you, which might also make you a better teacher.