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The Fine Art of Teaching

by Mimi Haigh

Softly resting upon my comfy couch which has captured me once again, I stare into the ethereal flames dancing and lapping at the glass door of my space-heater's simulated fireplace. I hear a familiar message, like a whisper on the wind's gentle touch, a gift which now embraces me, then graces me with encouragement and peace as I ponder matters of the heart.

While being held in the loving embrace of this gentle energy, I review reflections that reveal one of my most authentic and genuine experiences, one which returned me to right relationship with myself and another.

One of my favorite students, Josh, was diligently working on a writing piece but was restlessly fidgeting as he occupied the space on the chair beside my desk.

As he engaged the task of laboriously producing print, Josh's form, despite him being a tall, lanky, freshman boy, reminded me of another former student. His tongue resting on his lip, while often gently nipping at it with his teeth, Josh moved closer to his paper as he wrote, bearing down with great force on the pencil's tip with such a sweet expression on his face while applying these extra investments of effort.

That moment was reminiscent of one former learning-disabled, elementary-age student's similar writing style. Like Josh, his whole mind, body and soul, gross and fine motor movements would also simultaneously be applied with great effort to produce just a few words.

The gift for me during these challenging times always was, and still is, that I am graced to bear witness to a struggling student's soul's total investment in their work. I am remembering, as I now fondly review this reflection, that there are few sweeter, more passionate moments for me, the teacher, than engaging with a student, no matter what their grade level, especially those students diagnosed with a learning disability which may hinder their effective progress.

Josh is such a student. He struggled while approaching a language-based task, but one whom gracefully accepted my teacher's gift of encouragement; an unseen academic tool he needed, so he may confidently complete his work with pride.

As I sat at my desk and wrote corrections on his paper he looked at me with great curiosity. He's a concrete learner who needs the accommodations, "positioned within close proximity of the teacher" and "concrete examples with abstract presentations", as Josh needs to see, as well as hear and touch, what he is to learn.

At one point, Josh gently and respectfully leaned over and touched the cross welded onto my sterling cuff. He was quite surprised at what he felt, revealed by his remark, "Wow, Ms. Haigh, your bracelet is wicked hot." He then asked, "How come?"

I don't remember our exact exchange of words, but they were the right ones in that moments as we were both were smiling and comfortably completing that most arduous task of revising his rough draft for a third time.

Upon reflection of this tender event I am reminded of another most valuable, but unseen "tool of the trade" that I unconsciously applied while engaging with Josh in the fine art of teaching.

I have learned through my holistic studies and work that healing energy, 'Chi', flows freely, though is unseen by most. When activated, a phenomenon is often experienced by many, like Josh, and described as "heat" gently radiating from a source. This is what Josh felt when he touched my cuff's cross.

The healing energy of Chi may burn brightly within all of us when we choose to keep faithful to a loving heart and spirit, which is the alchemy that activates and illuminates encouraging and loving words and actions.

Those who make the choice to adhere to the practice of holding themselves accountable to these loving, luminescent universal truths, thoughts and words, hold the key that opens the door to "Chi's Healing Heat".

This heat radiates with spectacular grace but is a powerful tool which educators like myself may draw upon as we reach out a helping hand of encouragement to struggling students like Josh. Children with diagnosed disabilities often struggle, sadly because they lack confidence in their abilities to succeed.

Josh's simple words reminded me that when I am engaging in the fine art of teaching my passion ignites, activates, radiates, and then illuminates the generous gift of "Chi's Healing Heat." This co-creates within me a synergy that manifests and holds the safe space needed for learning disabled students to first and foremost develop trust and confidence in themselves, so they can indeed learn.

Captured by comfy couch, I am graced with the favor to bask in a wrinkle in time moment before my fake fireplace. My thanks go out to both this surreal, dissipating Whisper on the Wind, and to Josh and other students like him.

I am reminded that instructional time spent with students like Josh truly are wrinkle in time moments, when often the most valuable, but impossible to document growth in student learning, as well as in teachers, unfolds and manifests.

I will always honor such moments by dutifully documenting them in my mind's eye and heart. These are the moments when my best practice and successful teaching tool was, is and eternally shall be "Chi's Healing Heat."

Mimi Haigh is a high school special education English teacher and examiner in Kingston, Massachusetts, as well as a certified Reiki Master and practicing intuitive empath.

Currently, she is completing her first book, Journey Such As This, which contains wondrous reflections of the cascading waves of grace she has experienced while practicing mindfulness, awareness, and understanding. This practice renews, transforms, and opens her heart to the spiraling "Pillars of Light", of The Great Mystery which is the source with whom she co-creates the words she pens in her book.

Besides private parties and phone readings this summer she will offer intuitive readings before the Jon Stetson Ladies Only Psychic Party Monday nights at the Cape Codder in Hyannis.

Visit Mimi 's website: