As a teacher, 8 have the benefit of going to some pretty cool brain development lectures. Most of them are geared on how students learn and what we can do to help them learn better. Friday, I went to one such session. A brain researcher/educator named Tate came to our area and two of the middle schools combined for a day long workshop. Now, I hadn’t really kept up with the researchers in the past year and have only been skimming the articles because of time.
She was amazing. We talked about all the basic stuff like how the physical brain shots electricity up neurons, axons and through dendrites, across synapsis to the axon to store use knowledge. When you are born you have around 100 billion neurons to start out with. This is an amazing amount of potential and made even more cool because each of the axons can have at least 6,000 dendrites coming off it. These connections are culled if you don’t use them. As teachers, our primary goal is to grow these dendrites with the information that we are required to teach our students.. Kind of. Most of the teachers I know actually view their goal as preparing the students for life. Sometimes that connects to the literature dictating what our students will be tested over and sometimes it doesn’t.
Most of this I was already aware of. Tate brought to the table some information about stress that I was unaware of. First, when you feel under stress to the pint that your body had the fight or flight response, it pulls some of the from parts of your body to fuel your arms and legs. Body is making sure we can have our best fight or flight response. I didn’t know that it would take 45 min to recover from a treat though. That is one of my entire class periods. The second thing that I thought was absolutely stunning that she showed us was how emotions affect the body. I had always heard and never doubted that emotions strongly affect the body and brain but she gave us one of the coolest exercises to show us.
Find someone you trust and do this with them.
Think of your happiest moment. Stick your arm out at a 90 degree angle to the side and have them out some weight on it to try and pull it down. Now, have your helper take a break and think of one of the saddest worse moments of your life. Stick your arm back out to the side and have your helper apply pressure again.
Tell me what you noticed!
She also showed us pictures of people who looked much younger than they were and talked about the power of laughter. Think of comedians you know and like that are old and haven’t been caught doing drugs. Most of them lived to quite and old age and look happy and healthy. Now..l think of how Obama looked going into his presidency verses how he looks now. He is in a high stress job and it has physically seemed to affect him.
This all made me think of the changes I’m making in my life and how I want to find happiness to the point that I am actually stressing myself over it. I am getting better about reworking my thinking but I need to make sure that I am not clinging to negativity when I am frustrated at my job or with my apartment. In the way of my job, I am doing the best I can and those who want to learn are getting a chance to grow. I can’t force a change on the ones who really aren’t interested in art. No need to stress about it. That’s sometimes just life. When it comes to my apartment, I am barely getting enough sleep as it is. When life slows down a bit, I will continue to make progress in leaps and bounds. Until that happens, I will live the best I can and keep dreaming of the future I am building for myself.
Ps, I hope everyone is in good health and full of happiness!