Education, Schools & Teaching our Kids: ‘Quality of Presence’ in the Classroom

by Kristy Wood, Bachelor of Education, Australia

I am a primary school teacher and I wish to share my experience of the ‘quality of presence in a classroom’.

Schools and teachers today are dealing with a rise in the many issues that they are presented with on a daily basis. We are living in a current context in which teacher stress and burn-out are at an alarming high. We are also living in times where the behaviours being displayed by children and the vast issues schools are dealing with have intensified, and this is an issue that is being reported in newspapers world-wide. Many teachers are expressing that they feel disheartened by the process of teaching. It has become so outcome and achievement based, there is little time for anything else.

Consider this quote from Aristotle, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”, and the fact that our way of educating children has now predominantly become about the end result of the knowledge they retain that will help them to get a job in the future. How much educating of the heart and the person really happens in this process?

I recently asked a group of teachers, “When was the last time you really enjoyed being with the children or you sat and really listened to them share an experience about something that had happened to them?”. The room of over 20 teachers looked a bit shocked and many honestly responded that they couldn’t think of the last time when they stopped and just enjoyed a moment with the children. They shared that they simply didn’t have time to do this. There was too much that they needed to do in terms of getting through the curriculum, managing behaviours, planning, programming, lesson preparation and filling out numerous amounts of reports and paper work so that they can justify what they are doing. It’s like the teachers running a marathon each day: many are often not even stopping to go to the toilet when they need to.

What I noticed is that we spend a lot of time caught up in where we need to be, what we are doing next, where we need to get the kids to, etc. We are constantly running a few steps ahead of where we actually are, and the process of doing this is exhausting.

I too was a teacher going through the motions of getting through the day. I liked being with the kids but the moments of really enjoying each day were few and far between. I never really thought much of this but just accepted that this was how teaching and life were to be. I was often considered one of the ‘best’ teachers in the school but this was still my experience – I liked the job but there wasn’t a daily joy to it. I would listen to the kids, but it was that half-listening, where I would listen to them for a bit but I was also still focused on other things, like keeping an eye on the rest of the class.

I attended a Universal Medicine retreat and I was presented with another way. It was very simple – it just made me stop and consider how I was living, and how much time I was spending being caught up in the ‘next’ thing, the ‘next’ moment, and how little time I spent being present with what I was doing in that moment. I started to become aware of how this then impacted on those I interacted with. During the retreat Serge Benhayon shared simple and practical tools to support us to bring quality and presence to our days. Serge also shared that we need to look after and take care of ourselves so that we are then able to truly care for others. From there I started to bring more awareness to how I was living and supporting myself each day. The impact this has had on my teaching has been amazing.

By bringing more awareness and quality of presence to the classroom I noticed that the way the children responded to me changed instantly. I was able to start to really see the kids and observe what was going on for them. Through taking the time to be with the children, they felt more honoured in the relationship, and the dynamics of the classroom changed dramatically. I was able to connect with each child in the way that they needed each day; the ripple effect of this in the classroom was huge. I found that I no longer had to ‘manage’ the kids’ behaviour as I could see what was going on for each child and could respond with what was needed in that moment without reacting in frustration and adding to the issue. I noticed that the children also started to take more responsibility for how they behaved and treated each other. There were rarely any issues between the kids and if there were, they would work through it in a way that supported each other – not in an argument. No one was vying for my attention either as they realised they were all seen and would get the support they needed. The class came together and there was a deep appreciation, respect and enjoyment of each other. From here teaching changed for me, it re-ignited the absolute joy and love I have of working with kids. I looked forward to going to work each day and I started to really enjoy just being with the children first and foremost before anything else.

Through bringing the quality of presence to the classroom I began to realise that only now was I able to support real learning with the children. It was no longer just about developing a lesson and teaching that lesson so that the children could gain information and knowledge. I was able to start to see what each child needed, how they needed things to be presented, how they best understood things and what was the next thing they needed to unfold their next level of understanding. There was no longer a right or wrong way of doing things.

I know many teachers would say you can’t teach 30 different ways of doing things at the same time. The answer is, I didn’t. I was no longer the only teacher in the room. If I could see that one child had a deeper understanding of something, and also had a similar approach to learning new information as another child, then it was important for them to share their understanding with one another. The knowledge was no longer theirs to be used over another: in this way, their understanding and way of learning was appreciated and used to support others’ learning in the classroom.

In this process of learning together, where I too was an equal learner, the confidence of every person in the room grew. Yes, some children understood mathematics better and some understood the conventions of language better, but each child had something to offer, so the kids stopped seeing other kids as being ‘better’ than them. Each child brought something special to the room, whether it was the way they were able to understand people, the way they cared for or supported others, or their sense of humour – everyone was appreciated for who they were, not what they could achieve – and everyone fitted. This is often something that doesn’t happen in a classroom, there are often one or two kids who are slightly ostracised by the group or who you can feel the teacher would find it much easier if they were in another class.

This doesn’t mean that I now had a class of perfectly behaved children; it wasn’t like that as life is not like that. Yes, the children still went through stuff but it often didn’t last long. I didn’t have to manage behaviour, have a rewards chart or any behaviour plans. If something came up for one of the kids, the other kids didn’t react; and because of the support I offered them, they were then able to offer this to each other. So if a child came into the room angry, the other kids didn’t react or try and push their buttons and provoke them. Without it ever being discussed, it was as if it was known and silently worked out who would be the best person to talk to that child and support them. Sometimes the children would talk through what was going on, other times they would simply tell the child to stop and that they couldn’t join in until they had stopped being angry with others.

For me as a teacher behaviour management stopped because the children had a deep connection with each other and they started to see and deal with what was actually going on. Children have an amazing empathy for others and can express this easily, if they haven’t had too many detrimental experiences. Through the understanding they had of each other they could recognise that certain behaviours a child may be displaying wasn’t actually them. This also helped me to look ‘through’ the behaviours, connect with the child, sit with them and discuss the behaviours, without the child being identified by those behaviours. We would look at why they were choosing certain behaviours and what was happening for them, this also allowed them to see the impact this had on others when they chose to act in this way. It supported the children to take responsibility for their behaviour and deal with the issue that was underlying them. All of this came about by simply choosing to be more present and connected to myself so that I could then connect and be more present with the children in my care.

We can’t treat the brains or minds of children in isolation to the rest of the child. Life is about people and the relationships we have with each other – our occupations and what we do are second to this. You often hear statements in schools such as, “If that child wasn’t in my class, it would be so much easier”. But it is about ‘that’ child, as it is about all the children equally. It is not about how much of the curriculum we can impart onto the children, for this is not true learning. We need to stop and consider that while we may be preparing kids so that they eventually have the skills to get a job, do we equally prepare them so that they will have quality and joy in their lives? How can we do this if we as their teachers do not have this quality in our own lives, and therefore don’t bring this quality to the way we teach children and the way we run our classrooms?

When people are asked to recall their favourite teacher or those that made a difference to them, it is often the teacher that took the time to know them and develop a personal connection with them. This we know. We do have courses at university that teach the importance of the relationships you have with the children in your class. However, we need to go deeper with this and look at the quality of our presence and the quality of the relationships we have with ourselves and then all the children equally.

I was recently talking to a 12 year-old boy who had been in trouble at school. I asked him what was going on and he said, “I hate school”. I asked him why, and he said, “They just tell us stuff all day and then when there is something that really needs to be talked about, it’s not. They focus on all these rules, like don’t run on the concrete and stuff and they put that first, but then when you need to talk about a problem or something important you are just told to play nicely and stuff, like it doesn’t really matter”. I then asked him how he would like to be educated. He said, “When a child is born you would watch them and see what they are naturally interested in or good at, the parents would then support the child to develop that. If the parents didn’t have those skills but were good at something different, then they would find a person who knows more about what the child is good at, and would support them to develop those skills further. You would talk with the child about what they know and ask them questions so they understand things more. You would also encourage them to learn other things that weren’t as natural for them but they would also have more confidence to do this because of what they know first.”

What this boy expressed was very revealing of our current ways of educating children. He was misbehaving at school because he felt like no one really knew him or took the time to care about him, know what interested him, and know how he needed things to be presented for him to feel confident in his abilities. He also expressed that children come to school with a knowing, they are not empty vessels that are to be filled with knowledge. He was frustrated that in the busyness we were unable to see what was already there in him to be worked with. While practically we may not be able to do things in the way he has expressed, we are however able to bring a quality of care, presence and understanding to our current classrooms.

Too many children are craving to be met with genuine care and warmth. Many children play up in the classroom and because teachers can be overloaded and caught up in all they need to do, the kids are not really seen. Some teachers may react to these behaviours as they see it as a disturbance to their lesson or day. They then implement behaviour management strategies to attempt to minimise these behaviours, however in this, the children feel the lack of care for them as a person. The child knows that it isn’t about them but is about making it easier for the teacher to get through the lesson, so they often react further and may escalate the behaviours, or some kids may choose to shut down and withdraw. Some of the children who act out realise that in doing this they get some kind of attention or recognition, which is better than not being seen, so they continue to choose these behaviours. What I have learnt is that the less I react, which I can only do when I am not running at a million miles an hour, the more I am able to be with the children and be aware of what is really going on. In this the children feel a genuine love and care and will often respond without resorting to inappropriate behaviours. It is not our job to control children but provide the support and boundaries that then allow them to makes choices and learn from these.

There are lots of children coming into schools in quite a variety of momentums resulting in varied behaviours. It seems that many of them are over-stimulated and find it hard to stop. Many of these children share that they have problems sleeping; they look exhausted and find it hard to focus. When we do stop and take notice, we can see that our pace of life is having an impact on our children. Teachers often feel this momentum and think they need to do things quickly to keep the kids entertained; sometimes teachers go into a more intense state than the children, such as raising their voice above them to try and control them. This just exacerbates the intensity in the classroom.

What I have learnt is that the more I look after myself, the more I am able to hold a consistent way of being and hold my own rhythm. When I walk into a classroom the children feel this, it is like it allows them to relax and they then align to my quality of presence, instead of me being pulled into their momentum.

Some people think I have a special gift with children and some try and copy things I do so that they can get the same response from the kids. But kids can’t be fooled, no matter how soft your voice is; if you are running a million miles an hour, you can’t suddenly stop and put on a soft voice and be able to offer the children a stillness, a different momentum or a deep connection. If you haven’t been meeting yourself in this way then you are not able to truly do it for others. There is nothing special about what I do, it is simply about the quality in which I choose to live that I then bring to others. This is something we need to teach in universities. It is not about behaviour management but the quality of connection that you offer to children.

As the Dalai Lama so wisely said, “Affection and a calm mind are important to us. A calm mind is good for our physical health, but it also enables us to use our intelligence properly and to see things more realistically. Affection too is important because it counters anger, hatred and suspicion that can prevent our minds from functioning clearly.”

115 thoughts on “Education, Schools & Teaching our Kids: ‘Quality of Presence’ in the Classroom

  1. ‘…re-ignited the absolute joy and love I have of working with kids…’
    ‘…When I walk into a classroom the children feel this, it is like it allows them to relax and they then align to my quality of presence, instead of me being pulled into their momentum.’
    ‘…if you are running a million miles an hour, you can’t suddenly stop and put on a soft voice and be able to offer the children a stillness…’

    An amazing insight Kristy to the gentle power of true presence, thank you for sharing the absolute beauty and simplicity of your lived truth – the ‘re-ignited joy and love’ you have in working with kids, just jumps off the page!

    1. Yes, such an inspiring and joyful way to be. it goes to show how each of us, young and old, knows true wisdom. when it walks through the door we listen, take note and come back to ourselves.

  2. Thank you Kristy for your inspirational words, the simplicity of being present is as profound as you have shared, things do take care of themselves when we choose to be present rather than a step ahead,

    This is a great point in which to start my working day, Your the best Kristy….

    1. I very much got this from this amazing blog too Toni. The power of building presence within ourselves and the affect it has on all situations and people we engage with. The kids immediately felt how they were being met and blossomed while being held in equality and openness. Such a beautiful blog.

  3. Kristy, the commitment you have to yourself, to be still, connected and loving feels absolutely solid and unwavering. You have shared how your strength, grace and beauty allows a classroom full of children to be themselves and the children you work with are blessed to be in your presence. I hope you get a lecturing position very soon to present to new teachers about the quality of presence and connection.

    1. I agree Sally. Kristy, in making simple changes to her lifestyle and developing self care, has totally changed the dynamic of her classroom. And the choice is ours to do the same – whatever room we are in.

    2. I agree Sally the way Kristy is beams out of the page, I would have loved her as my teacher growing up and like you hope she is able to share her wisdom with many many thousands of people worldwide as this is very much needed.

  4. Thank you Kristy for this fabulous blog post on teaching children. I think teachers get a really hard time and have a tough job with many people looking to criticise them that it’s no wonder they get demoralised and demotivated. Your post shows there can be another way – that works for the teacher and the kids – win/win all round. Awesome post – loved it and could feel the truth in your expression. Simple changes that can have profound effects.

  5. How inspiring to read and see someone truely connecting in the classroom. I love her comment, about how she was ‘not the only teacher in the room’ even that statement alone shows her equalness and appreciation of the kids she works with, no wonder they let down their defences and respond!

    Equally precious is the fact that what she is doing is so simple, it can be done by others who are willing to try this approach with loving intent.

  6. Thank your for an awesome and inspiring post Kristy. I taught some 25+ years ago for a short period and although no longer teaching, can feel even in the short period of 25 years how the pace of life has intensified and how this has impacted teachers and our education system. My teenage children feel the stress that their teachers and fellow students are under, and when I ask them what they feel is really going on, they can clearly identify that the current education system asks them to perform, rather than meeting or seeing them for who they are. Your post is also a loving reminder of my role as a parent – which I feel is simply to connect to my stillness and honour myself, and allow ‘that’ to be the quality I meet my children with.

  7. Wow Kristy, amazing how different the world might be if classrooms were more like this… such a big loving impact for those who are touched by your grace. Awesome and inspiring. Thanks.

  8. Kristy…I love the love that you are bringing to children & schools.
    You are a true testament that one person can make a big difference.

    As always, truth is so simple…education, like many other sectors has sold out to money, greed, & recognition surviving a momentum that is not natural in our bodies. You only have to look at the stats for illness & disease that keeps increasing each year…many of us have forgotten about the quality of living. But as you say, each one of us can make a difference by choosing our true connection of presence first and then sharing this with others. True change can never be forced upon another, but rather inspired through how we choose to live.

    I have always found children very inspiring because of their natural play-fullness and honesty. Most know what true love is & I always learn so much from them.

    Keep bringing the inspiration Kristy…the world needs it 🙂

  9. Wow if all teachers were like that our kids would be so amazing and we would all learn from their experience. Thank you for sharing Kristy. What you present could also be applied in any work place, family or relationship.

  10. Great Inspiration Kristy – I can feel the strength, consitency and beauty in you – how amazing for the children to be so fully met for themselves and how they reflect this back
    to you in the classroom.

  11. Thank-you Kristy, for ALL you have shared here. Truly inspiring, and much I can personally relate to as a (private) music teacher for over 25 years. Knowledge can be shared, but making any education about people, first and foremost, is truly paradigm changing.
    The true learning kids in your classrooms are getting, must surely support them already, in their home life and elsewhere. There was a great gift I felt from your words in this.
    What you speak of with such great humbleness, is self-responsibility – for the qualities we bring to others, in anything we ‘do’, and in how we simple ‘are’. And you speak of it in a way that clearly shows that this sense of responsibility is ‘no burden’.. it is a Joy.
    Power on! Awesome.

  12. How lovely. It is easy to see Kristy how because of your commitment to looking after yourself the children feel you as reliable, consistent and trustworthy and a person who they can openly talk with. A beautiful reflection for everyone in the school.

  13. Thank you Kristy. As someone aspiring to enter Primary School teaching I find your words true-ly inspiring. I have printed this off to read it again. Amazing, thank you.

  14. Super article Kristy, thank you. I work in careers and recruitment and know that from dealing, especially with the newly qualified graduates about to embark upon their job search and join the world of work in a ‘suitable job or career’ (which they have mostly exhausted themselves towards achieving), that the exact same sentiment you share about the school kids, is also voiced by older students in regards their Career Service Advisers at school and / or university – who only engage or ‘lock-in’ to the particular subject the student did well in via exam results, which then dictates the degree / qualification then studied and ultimately proposed ‘career’. But I have seen countless cases from those having departed from university and who are left floundering and feeling more stressed out, not knowing what to do with their degree / qualification and how it actually helps towards their job / career with many feeling their studies have been a complete waste of time; that they have not enjoyed the studied subject and importantly are left feeling bereft or cheated of having had good sound career advice from school. (This is also comes to light for those considering a later life ‘career change’).

    So when the simple question is asked – what do you enjoy or what comes naturally to you?… they open up and share and from there they are encouraged to see that there are job or career possibilities within their reach. This is the way they then approach their ‘job search’ – encouraged and inspired from someone who just spent 60 mins of their time connecting and talking with them.

    It seems that right from young, by not engaging with the child as an equal person (who is just like the adult / teacher themselves), and instead regarding them for their subjects (they do well or not so well in), leads to ill choices being made in regards future studies, and in turn future careers, and in turn future managers and leaders of business and enterprise.

    It truly is a wonderful thing that you are doing within your school Kristy and a blueprint for others to be inspired by.

    1. Zofia, reading your comment brought me to reflect on the fact that majority of the people I talk to on a daily basis simply see their work and career as something that has to be done to get the money in – a chore and an inconvenience that they plan to do away with as soon as they can. It seems to me, that allowing the person to reflect on what they feel inspired to contribute to life by asking the questions: “What do you enjoy or what comes naturally to you?” is the way to change this relationship to work. And what Kristy is talking about as early as school age, lays a great foundation to start with.

    2. I was one who could not get past university, I realised immediately that it was not the place for me but did a year as to leave was unthinkable. When I did leave it was ok because I had failed so miserably – even though I was a very able student, I just couldn’t connect with any purpose to being there and it felt cold and heartless. I did go onto study 12 years later which I loved. I actually couldn’t imagine how difficult it is for students today with the debt they incur in going to university, the coldness would be even icier and more cut throat as education became about money and not service. Whilst that is the foundation it will continue to turn out students who are disillusioned.

  15. Thank you so much Kristy for this wonderfully strong and simple piece. The simple way you live more present with yourself and more present with the children shows us all clearly how directed teaching could be transformed into supporting children’s learning. This would cut out the damaging comparing and competing that separates children rather than uniting and connecting them. It would revolutionise education and relationships from the grass roots up – how wonderful for our society and humanity.

  16. This is so powerful. It’s great to find someone who not only sees what is actually going on in schools but also offers a practical way forward. So often plans, programs, interventions etc. are given to teachers, schools or individual students yet all of these seem to work from the outside in. They try to change all these outside factors, instead of supporting teachers / principals / students truly.

    Love it Kristy, you’re awesome.

  17. An absolutely inspiring depiction of a woman and teacher prepared to put in the effort to reclaim her own relationship with herself and live and teach from this presence. Kids are no fools… we sniffed out the hypocrisy when we were kids, yet as adults we somehow convince ourselves each subsequent generation of kids can be fooled by the lies and disregard we can choose to live in as adults. Kristy has so humbly swallowed her adult pride and chosen to live honestly, allowing both kids and adults to feel equal with her – no calibrating ’up’ to adults nor ’down’ to kids. I’m not in the teaching profession any longer, but I am deeply moved and inspired by the work that Kristy does, and every time I read an article or hear her speak in public on what she’s doing, I cannot help but feel there is a true way forward for our much challenged education system. You go girl!

  18. Kristy – I cannot begin to tell you how much this article has touched me. I keep coming back to it and read it over and over again. I realised that even though ‘all has been said’ in the great comments and feedback you’ve had – I myself needed to express my bit. I am one of the children that hated school and always felt bad (and less) that instead of concentrating and obeying the strict discipline in the classroom, I used to daydream and check out. What a different classroom you offer – thank you for your incredible inspiration.

  19. Education from Latin Educare – to draw out, to draw from within. Not the other way round – the way we, in the society have adopted to ‘fill the children from outside in’. I have raised four children and as a result had a fair amount of contact with teachers, heads of department, heads of schools etc. Every now and then I came across a teacher or two, who were different and wanted to make difference – but the system which is not necessarily supportive of drawing from what already is within a child, is so deeply engrained that their voices cannot be heard. Great that your voice is heard – loud and clear Kristy. 🙂

    1. You are little kind here Dragana ” but the system which is not necessarily supportive of drawing from what already is within a child” I would say that the system is actively encouraged to avoid listening to the innate wisdom of children, to put out any flames of truth for they will challenge the very core of a system that is serving not one person.

  20. “We can’t treat the brains or minds of children in isolation to the rest of the child” is really the key to where in our education system we aren’t truly supporting them. Are we pumping kids full of knowledge and asking them to regurgitate what they can remember, without considering their emotional needs, backgrounds or what is going on for them in their daily lives?

  21. Wow Kristy, thank you for sharing the amazing work you are doing, your approach is so inspiring. The inclusiveness of your classroom is palpable. I love the best how you say: you are not the only teacher in the room. Encouraging the children to work together learning from and inspiring each other, supporting each other in their development. Ground breaking and beautiful. Thank you.

    1. Its no surprise that when all these other Teachers/Kids are honoured and respected in the class room, that the whole class comes alive and the quality of what is being taught sky-rockets. Much better having 30 teachers in the same room then just 1.

      1. Beautiful, Simon, an amazing picture – 30 little teachers! And they all are; no empty vessels to be filled up at all. They have so much to share and contribute – even though it may not fit into a certain box.

      2. So true. The kids felt the equality and respect that was being offered and absolutely blossomed. This is a profoundly inspiring blog.

  22. ‘There is nothing special about what I do, it is simply about the quality in which I choose to live that I then bring to others. This is something we need to teach in universities. It is not about behaviour management but the quality of connection that you offer to children.’ It is so inspiring to read how your joy in teaching returned when you choose to look after yourself and focus on the quality of your presence. The amazing impact this had on the children in your class and how the equality in the room meant that they all took more responsibility for sorting out any issues with compassion and understanding of each other is beautiful and humbling – in our current drive to fill them with knowledge we overlook the immense wisdom that they all have to offer.
    I used to teach adults (who had missed out on education the first time around) and I loved being with the students and how supportive they were of each other but got ground down by the paperwork and feeling that however much I did it was never enough. I am planning to return to teaching next year and look forward to focussing on my quality of presence and letting it unfold from there. Thank you Kristy for this awesome inspiration.

  23. I completely agree with your comment Kristy about how supportive children are willing and able to be of each other, that has certainly been my experience. It makes perfect sense that a strong and real relationship with the child should be the no.1 quality sought. My own experience of teaching children has been how transforming it has been of the activities I have undertaken when a true connection is made first.

  24. I feel that I’ve had a whole education in life from reading your blog Kristy. You hold so much wisdom and there was so much wisdom shared from the 12 year old boy you spoke with. This is the power that we hold when we are left to live and express who we are -naturally.

    1. Well said Shevon, so much wisdom here that Kristy shares, and so much wisdom coming from the 12 year old boy; how about supporting the children with what they are good at? And supporting the children to support each other; they learn amazing life skills in doing so, like working together in harmony and expressing themselves, and not needing to hide how amazing they are!

  25. Fabulous blog, Christy, you share so much wisdom and truth about teaching, how to be with children, and foremost how to take care of ourselves. Like you write:
    ‘kids can’t be fooled, no matter how soft your voice is; if you are running a million miles an hour, you can’t suddenly stop and put on a soft voice and be able to offer the children a stillness, a different momentum or a deep connection. If you haven’t been meeting yourself in this way then you are not able to truly do it for others.’
    Connecting with children starts with connecting with ourselves.
    Thank you for all the inspiration you offer.

    1. Kids do have that incredible radar to not be fooled, but then so do we as adults. The difference is that kids tend to be more honest and simply not accept it (despite the possibility that this may be uncomfortable for the adult), whereas adults are more likely to be nice, play the game and allow that level of disinterested interaction.

  26. I love the insights you have shared in this post and the wisdom you allowed that 12 year old boy to express which he had not found any other adult willing to hear. It is a calamity that we so frequently allow ourself to get caught in systems and routines and forget about the people we and those systems were supposed to serve. It was a joy reading how you have been finding ways to support yourself and the children you teach to live a different way.

  27. Wow! I loved re-reading this article Kristy, “each child had something to offer, so the kids stopped seeing other kids as being ‘better’ than them. Each child brought something special to the room”, “everyone was appreciated for who they were, not what they could achieve”, this is so simple and makes so much sense. I loved how you wrote about the children supporting each other rather than being in competition with each other and that everyone has something to offer. This is a true society, if kids were raised this way there would be no need for lack of self-worth or competition because everyone would know that they bring something different and that they are enough – absolutely beautiful!

  28. Kristy, thank you for this heart warming blog, providing an insight into what the future may possibly hold for our education systems everywhere and what is happening now in your classroom. Very inspiring. I would have had a different appreciation of school if I had a teacher such as yourself.

  29. Quality of presence is an extremely important element of teaching, and one that is often dismissed or over looked. It’s great to have an article that pays attention to this essence of teaching.

  30. Kristy, your blog is a very interesting read, it is of no surprise that teachers are not coping under the immense pressure to tick boxes and meet guidelines as you say there is immense importance put on ‘acedemic results’. Parents expect them and teachers are told to achieve them. Reading your relationship with teaching and how beautifully the children you are teaching responded to you when you took the time to connect with them, talk to them and listen to them was a joy to read. It is incredible that by simply being more of yourself you can have such a profound impact on every level with a group of children, now that is super inspiring.

  31. This was just beautiful to read, and your joy Kristy, in what you do, comes through so strongly.
    I particularly liked the quote from the 12 year old boy… he should be advising the Education minister (wouldn’t that be a novel approach – to put kids at the centre of Education policy!).

  32. This is the most beautiful blog I have ever read. On so many occasions through reading it i cried in reflecting that exactly how you have described it in the blog, is exactly what I felt in real life. It just goes to show that what we really want is love and connection with others and as you say everything else comes second. This is something that I will forever cherish and appreciate as I know it is true.

    here are some of my favourite lines.

    “while we may be preparing kids so that they eventually have the skills to get a job, do we equally prepare them so that they will have quality and joy in their lives?”

    “children come to school with a knowing, they are not empty vessels that are to be filled with knowledge.”

    “When we do stop and take notice, we can see that our pace of life is having an impact on our children”

    from the 12 year old boy..
    “They just tell us stuff all day and then when there is something that really needs to be talked about, it’s not. They focus on all these rules, like don’t run on the concrete and stuff and they put that first, but then when you need to talk about a problem or something important you are just told to play nicely and stuff, like it doesn’t really matter”.

    “When people are asked to recall their favourite teacher or those that made a difference to them, it is often the teacher that took the time to know them and develop a personal connection with them”

  33. What you have brought to the classroom and the children within is just gorgeous Kristy and the knock on affect extraordinary. The way you honoured them and in turn they honoured each other is nothing short of inspirational.

  34. Beautiful Kristy and very true! The lack of connection (or disconnection) to the present, to self, to the body and to others is silently killing education. That is why when someone breaks the mold he/she stands out and produces something extraordinary.

  35. Awesome blog, Kristy! Most teachers choose their profession because they love children and interacting with them – it is really sad that it has become all about ‘ticking boxes’ and the connection with the children is lost. How amazing that you have learned what you have from Serge Benhayon and have then live it daily in the classroom!

  36. As a kid I had very little trust for my teachers, and your blog illustrates something completely different from my own experience. It is very inspiring to know there is another possibility.

  37. Seriously amazing work Kristy! So so inspiring! I can’t wait to see how you change the education system!

  38. Awesome blog Kristy. What is true, deeply in us all, is known and once connected to as mentioned, our lives change and unfold in the most beautiful way. We are all the same and the opportunity to live this way is available to everyone – so why would children be exempt from this? To spend your day allowing the 30 other amazing and connected teachers in the room to share in the responsibility of learning and to bring their innate gifts to others is the way Heaven meant it to be. Such wisdom from a 12 year old boy. Thank you Kristy, for opening this up for discussion and allowing the way forward to be known, by just living connected to ‘you’ deeply so.

    1. Yes, it is these so called soft skills or relationship skills that make a person truly successful at work and in their lives and by reflecting this to the kids, they can learn this as well. And it is something that needs to be part of education as it is so important for later life.

      1. We’ve all seen how fast kids pick up and copy behaviour. If we want them to behave lovingly we have to walk the talk, telling them doesn’t work when they see and feel everything.

  39. Kristy, there is so much you share here – and this is so important for all of us. Consistently bringing everything, every issue, back to us first, establishing a quality within ourselves, and living in a way that truly supports us, is taking full responsibility and giving us the ability to be present with whatever presents. What you’re sharing is of such importance – I feel a book coming on! What a blessing for all the children who are constellated to meet you, and to be met by you!

  40. Wow Kristy. Your blog has reminded me that we are all simultaneously both students and teachers living our everyday. I just love all that you have shared. Awesome blog.

  41. I really enjoyed what you shared here Kristy as it revealed the importance of the quality in which we live. I feel the more consistent we are in bringing a quality of presence to how are in the world the bigger the effect it has. I have experienced this in my own life when I have chosen to be consistent in holding me, being in the moment and truly being present in what I am doing. The difference is huge. This approach is so needed to be taught in schools, universities and in life as it allows us to feel the joy we truly are and to be met for who we are.

  42. I love how you have said the kids can’t be fooled! I laughed because it is such a con artist way to behave!! How many of us have spent much of our lives trying to persuade people that we are not furious, jealous, resentful, hurt. Hurt is a huge one, when kids can’t express how hurt they feel they get angry…no different when we grow up… still get hurt, can’t express it, get angry. But we know it is sometimes not an appropriate response so we hide it – we try to be nice and squash it. I have found that kids have a radar for that behaviour and have no trouble finding the buttons to push to bring it out! They don’t push buttons so they can be on the receiving end of the rage but so that we can at least have some honesty! Thank you for reminding me of that Kristy.

  43. This was such a good blog Kristy. It’s so easy to see that the current way the school curriculum is, is not supportive for both the student and the staff. You have captured this so perfectly. I loved how you shared what one of your students revealed to you about the way he finds school, I found that incredible and spot on, super golden.

  44. There is so much strength in your blog Kristy and I can feel how connected you are with yourself in your writing. Finding my rhythm and holding that as a consistent way of being is a becoming stronger within me over time and I am noticing how much of a difference it makes to myself and others when I don’t get drawn into emotional dramas etc. I can just imagine the effect your steadiness would have on a classroom full of children and as an added bonus, they can then take that experience back into their own homes.

  45. Kristy this is an incredibly important sharing that I am sure would benefit so many Children and Teachers and bring a richly rewarding Classroom environment for all. You are quite right that the Teacher who brings in the quality of calm within themselves and self nurture will be the most rewarded by the love of the students. Being able to offer that connection to the student where they feel met must be wonderful. Congratulations on a truly empowering blog for students and Teachers.

  46. Kristy I just love reading your observations in the classroom and about children & young people. You have such beautiful insights and so much to share. Simple, down to earth and practical and so very needed in our classrooms.

  47. It is so true that Children cannot be fooled. There is no faking a connection to yourself and a connection to them. This is a beautiful marker to live by and what a blessing to have such a powerful reflection in all the children that you work with Kristy. How lovely it would be if this was taught in every teaching course and became the norm for being in the classroom then by extension, everywhere else.

  48. What a wonderful example of how our quality of presence can have a huge impact on those around us. The way you are in the classroom with the children sounds amazing, and should be the norm in every classroom.

  49. Reblogged this on maggiemoonlight and commented:
    Who says that children don’t really know what they want? Is this because we don’t ask them…? They are, after all our future; so surely we should be investing our all into them…

    This is a wonderfully insightful blog, written with love and keen observation, born of love!

    …I was recently talking to a 12 year-old boy who had been in trouble at school. I asked him what was going on and he said, “I hate school”. I asked him why, and he said, “They just tell us stuff all day and then when there is something that really needs to be talked about, it’s not. They focus on all these rules, like don’t run on the concrete and stuff and they put that first, but then when you need to talk about a problem or something important you are just told to play nicely and stuff, like it doesn’t really matter”. …

    1. I remember feeling this way about school especially in secondary, it felt futile and pointless, in fact I remember a History lesson when I was about 16 and I looked out the window and thought I got to get it right this time because I do not want to come back and do this again! Turns out I will be coming around and around again so its worth investing in bringing true education to our young as we will soon be them again!

  50. Absolutely beautiful and inspiring to read your observations and very much needed in a time where there is so much going in education. It should be about connection and people again, it seems we have lost that focus.

  51. This is a revolutionary way of teaching Kristy and an absolutely needed change that we are all responsible for not just the teachers or ‘the system’. The products of our education system are then what we all are offered as these children then go out into the world to serve and offer all they can to humanity. Consider if we did begin to truly meet them as you share here. Not only would these people live far more responsibly, they would be far caring and truly loving with all around them

  52. “What I have learnt is that the more I look after myself, the more I am able to hold a consistent way of being and hold my own rhythm.” Yes I too am learning how important our presence and quality of our own connection with everything is vitally important and can effect us all in wondrous ways. The joy of connection is simply awesome to behold.

  53. This is revolutionary, empowering the entire class as individuals and as a single unit. And for the teacher to have the ability to actually become a part of the single unit in equality must be something special for the children to experience. This is definitely a way to promote self confidence for children and help develop their own expression.

  54. Kristy what you describe is phenomenal. You have given me great tips on how to be with children anywhere when I perceive their behaviour as difficult. How amazing would the school system be if all teacher’s were able to connect with themselves and their students as you describe.

  55. Lovely Kristy, teaching children how to live with themselves and with others rather than loading them with knowledge. When we recall our school days it is not the stuff that we were taught that we remember but the people who were teaching and how they were with us and the other children in the class. The lessons of life are how to live in harmony with yourself and with the world.

  56. So gorgeous and timely to re-read your blog Kristy as it reminds us all of the importance of truly connecting to self, for it is the quality of you that you bring whenever you connect to another. The more solid we are in knowing and living who we are, the more we are able to inspire this in another. This is something that can be lived equally by all.

  57. When we bring a true quality of our presence, we are able to change everything around us. I love the way the children felt appreciated for who they are rather than what they do, and that you have been able to connect with them individually. When children feel they are generally cared for teaching them becomes much easier, because there is a willingness from them to learn.

  58. ‘What I have learnt is that the more I look after myself, the more I am able to hold a consistent way of being and hold my own rhythm. When I walk into a classroom the children feel this, it is like it allows them to relax and they then align to my quality of presence, instead of me being pulled into their momentum.’ This is so true, because they feel your presence they are not having to deal with any unresolved emotional issues that you are bringing into work, so they automatically know it is safe and they can relax.

  59. So lovely to read your blog Kristy and how you “started to really enjoy just being with the children first and foremost before anything else.” They feel this and it breaks that vicious cycle where the kids play up because they are not being met and the teacher doesn’t meet them because he/she is trying to cope with the behavior but is often in reaction which breeds further reaction from the class. I know from raising my children that as soon I am present I am more in command and they feel it instantly. They feel secure in knowing that I know what I am doing and I don’t have to lord it over them with discipline and rules – just be myself and offer firm guidelines.

  60. “I was no longer the only teacher in the room”. Wow Kristy, how gorgeous for the kids to feel that equalness and be confirmed in their knowledge that they too have much to offer, each in their own unique way. When they are seen and met in this way they are then naturally willing to take responsibility.

  61. So often we get caught in the momentum of things to do and then it seems impossible to stop and take a moment to just be. This means that we miss out on the quality of life and it’s easy to get drained and others feel our frustration and nervous tension, especially children in a classroom who are feeling everything and not always knowing how to handle it and therefore behavioural problems can surface.

  62. I love that sentence about not being the only teacher in the room. Of course it is impossible to teach in 30 different ways at the same time, but that is only needed if you try and control 30 different situations. If we open up to the fact that everyone is super special in themselves, and all we need to do is to connect with that then we just need to be one way – connected to the moment. Connected to the person in front of us. And the rest quite literally takes care of itself!

  63. I love what the boy explained about how he wishes to be educated, that kids come with a talent and a knowing of something and should be supported here to expand from what they have instead of filled up under the false idea they know nothing. And of course you as a teacher can only offer into the relationship with the kids, what you have lived already in the relationship with yourself. We try to fake and to trick ourselves and others – but truth shines always through. Also it is to see the intent behind our actions. Do I ‘be soft’ to reach a ‘successful’ classroom and get a good spot on me or do I want to connect and offer this kids a true way of living – and so, be the light, shine and inspire so to let their light come through as well.

  64. Children can’t be fooled – they are very responsive to how we are with them and respond accordingly. As you share if you are with them in a way that confirms them for who they are and that they are enough as it is they can feel honoured and respected. When we make it about them having to learn things they switch off quite fast or go into reaction because it’s not normal for them to learn without being met first.

  65. I love that you have presented the possibility that we need to stop and pay attention to what is happening with our kids and consider the detrimental impact that our way of life is having on them. The importance of meeting kids in a quality of deep connection rather than trying to control behaviours is paramount and needs to lay at the foundation of the education system for any true change to be seen.

  66. Wow Kristy thanks for sharing your simple yet profound words of wisdom that apply to not only the classroom but the workplace our home lives with family and all relationships with humanity.

  67. You are an inspiration, Kristy. I am not a teacher nor a parent, but I can see the faults in the current education system where I live in that it is not preparing children for life, and also we hear so much about what we call ‘monster parents’ who seem to have every single bone there about to pick and blame teachers/schools for anything and everything and demand their child to be treated ‘special’, and we hear about issues amongst parents. It is quite obvious many adults are not even equipped to deal with their own life, let alone bring up another. We seem to have been continuing this downwards spiral. What you are presenting here brings in something so very much needed everywhere in the world. Thank you, Kristy.

  68. “…it just made me stop and consider how I was living, and how much time I was spending being caught up in the ‘next’ thing, the ‘next’ moment, and how little time I spent being present with what I was doing in that moment.”
    This is something that is so common in our society today and it shows the importance to bring a different way of being into education and teach people from young to enjoy life and not live life without themselves being part of it.

  69. We can never forget that the outcome of anything is the result of the process that gets us there. But what we really need to appreciate is that it is the quality and level of care in the details of that process that makes all the difference and lifts the quality of the outcome too.

  70. There is so much gold in this blog Kristy. It shows us how to prepare our self in a way that allows for us to connect to our true authority. An authority that both adults and children alike cannot help but respond well to.

  71. It’s so inspiring and healing on so many levels to consider what teachers like you are bringing to the education system Kristy – a system that is so foundational for everything in life but that in its current state is void of love and care.

  72. I have found when teachers and parents commit to connecting to children then it could potentially change a difficult teaching classroom full of children to a more harmonious one. ‘Too many children are craving to be met with genuine care and warmth.’ What you’ve shared here Kristy, I feel is part of the reason why so many teachers are experiencing difficult behaviors in classrooms.

  73. This article should really be in all the national newspapers. You highlight so succinctly what’s missing in education. The way education and children are approached is very revealing about how we see other human beings. We seem to view kids as needing to be filled with knowledge to make their way in life, instead of coming from a foundation that they are amazing little beings with so much to offer already. There also seems to be a real disconnect to kids, as if they are products to be filled with information, and how they feel or their sensitivity is disregarded. They are not really being treated like people, no wonder they react and behave badly at times, so would any adult. It feels awful when who you are is not what matters or is treated as invisible.

  74. Reading your description of how it is in your classroom felt like a beautiful yet unreal image. What is phenomenal is that it is the opposite – beautiful yes, but unreal? Not a bit of it. It is incredible the changes you have made simply by making changes to the way we live. You offer inspiration to all of us for are we all not just students in the classroom of life? Sometimes leading sometimes supporting but always learning.

  75. A thank you to you Kristy Wood. This is an outstanding blog. A true reflection of education and parenting. You have a lot to offer this worldwide problem. I love it how you have a simple answer to every problem – a quality that is to be lived by you first. You make it sound so simple. You should be endorsed by many and training the thousands. It was a pleasure to read. A book is needed. We need to hear more from you.

  76. Kids are not being honoured for their potential at home, school or in society. Are we as adult role models living our full potential? I’m discovering myself more and more each day what this actually truely means .. it’s no holds barred. All of me all of the time. It brings purpose to life. There is a job to be done – to continue to discover my power in who I am and the services Im here to offer.

  77. The quality of presence Kristy is making such a difference in the classroom! It’s the same in nursing, in mechanics, in administration and in customer service, it is this we are all looking for.

  78. I would love to see the many wonderful and loving ways that you share here implemented in all classrooms of all our children. You are to be congratulated for your work Kristy, and what a different learning experience these children are able to experience . Thanks to you!

  79. The power of presence, ‘Through bringing the quality of presence to the classroom I began to realise that only now was I able to support real learning with the children.’

  80. This blog reminds us of the importance and responsibility of truly connecting to self, for it is the quality of you that you bring wherever you go and whenever you connect to another.

  81. “it re-ignited the absolute joy and love I have of working with kids. I looked forward to going to work each day and I started to really enjoy just being with the children first and foremost before anything else.” This is the foundation of true education where children can learn from the inspiration of a teacher who lives with love and connection to all.

  82. So many nuggets here Kristy. A real joy to read. I once taught primary school children and loved it.
    It was said I had a natural way as a teacher and my first permanent teaching job secured based on a single observation of me teaching swimming. I feel the essence is to bring all of us into the classroom, not just the ‘teacher’ in role and connect to the whole child, not just what they have to learn. And this applies to any job we do.

  83. Let’s not just read this article, but integrate it into our lives. We are all teachers and students at the same time, it truly pays to not ever forget this fact.

  84. ‘I was no longer the only teacher in the room’ This is inspiring Kristy. By enabling children to support and share understanding and approaches with each other, we empower them and enable them to value their own worth.

  85. What shines through is the quality of relationship Kristy has with her pupils, which flows from the quality of relationship she has with herself. Being consciously present as we live and work is foundational to this.

  86. Kristy this is a wonderful blog about education and what really matters. I will read this again but I loved this line especially. ‘We can’t treat the brains or minds of children in isolation to the rest of the child. Life is about people and the relationships we have with each other.’

  87. I can relate to much of what you say here Kristy. My teaching has changed significantly since I chose to make my self care a priority. Having that consistent way of being has made all the difference to how I am with the pupils and how they relate to me. There is far less battling and struggle, and a lot more fun.

  88. Thank you Kristy. . . this is a major point that you make . . . “It is not about behaviour management but the quality of connection that you offer to children.” . . . this is so important for as you pointed out if you have no connection with yourself how on earth can you expect to connect to a child and child respond well when they feel connected to.

  89. In my experience I have found that if I am not connected to myself my voice cannot be heard by a child, in fact they are more likely to misbehave as I can only hold an authority that can be heard if I am standing firm in my own connection for this allows me to read where the child is at and respond accordingly.

  90. I love what you are sharing Kristy and that is that if we treat children as equal to us and ourselves equal to them the whole classroom environment changes. The teacher should not be above the children and they should be responsible for what quality they bring to the classroom as equally do the kids.

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