Our Blog

A Reminder to be Mindful of My Students Worries

Oscar the Dog's smiling face

Oscar, my dog and co worker had to go to the vet yesterday. He had an odd lump on his gum, which had turned funny and we thought we better get it checked out. The vet wanted to surgically remove it, just in case it was something nasty. So I found myself at the vet hospital at 7.00am dropping the little guy off for a day procedure.

Pulling into the car park it dawned on me that is could actually be something nasty, which should lead to more tests, discomfort, operations and pain. The concern started to build in my mind. A sense of trepidation gripped me as I pulled up the hand break and took the keys out of the ignition. 

Oscar is the happiest, friendliest dog you could meet. I couldn’t bear the idea that I may not be able to provide the same happiness in his life that he had given to mine. Leaving him at the vet was difficult. For me. Oscar did not care one jot. He trotted happily off with the vet nurse, as alert as a meerkat, wondering what fun was going to be in store.

That day at work was difficult. I was teaching and could not concentrate. My mind kept wandering to Oscar and wondering if his operation was going to be one of many or was I worrying for nothing?

I picked Oscar up that night and he was groggy, disoriented and vulnerable. He slept 48 hours solid. I hardly slept at all. After that he was good to go. All had been forgotten and he was running around like nothing had ever happened. I, on the other hand had not recovered. I was tired from emotional stress and lack of sleep. I was fearful, we were not getting the results for another few days. My focus was shot, my concentration, a mess.

Trying to teach students and concentrate in lectures was hard work. I found it difficult to give it 100% and it was a real reminder to how some of my students must feel when they sit in front of me. I only know what they tell me. So when I ask ‘How was your week?’ the usual grunt of ‘good’ could be hiding all sorts of events which are causing them stress, fear, discomfort and sleepless nights.

I wonder how many of my students are not able to give 100% because of worries in their life? 

We got a call from the vet today. The lump, a benign tumour. I can breathe out and get some sleep. Fear gone, anxiety over, disaster averted. It’s been a horrible few days, but it’s also been a reminder.

While my drama was unfolding (mostly in my mind) I still did my best to teach my classes and interact with people as normal. It’s been a reminder. I hope to be more mindful of the drama’s my students may be facing in their own lives and the patience and open mind I need to have when interacting with them.