The Happy Dance

Sometimes you just get a feeling. And if your intuition is sharp, you know to pay attention to the feeling. That’s what happened last week when I was subbing in two high schools. I’m a substitute teacher when I’m not writing, and I love it. But on these two days, things were out of joint with certain students, and my intuition said to fix it…

Before the first bell rang, I had put up on the white board my daily brain teasers. I’ve subbed for this teacher before, and her students have gotten so familiar with me that when they come into the classroom and see me, they say, “Oh, it’s the cool sub!” and then they ask if they’re going to have brain teasers. I just nod, smile, and point to the board. This little exercise is fun, a little friendly competition with their classmates, and it gives me a reason to say, “Wow, you guys are on fire this morning. And it’s first period — you’re not even awake yet!” In short, it builds the bond to help students accept a change in their routine. Students don’t like change, and today the change was: me.

I was making my way around the room, monitoring that these sophomores were completing the assignment I’d written on the board and then gone over verbally, what I called their teacher’s “destructions.”  I noticed a student whose most salient characteristic was that his eyelids were at half mast. He looked absolutely exhausted. I stopped at his desk, looked down at his blank paper, and he looked up at me with a surly expression. I asked if he was choosing to opt out of the assignment. He said, “I’m tired. I didn’t sleep last night.” I replied, “You didn’t get enough sleep?” He clarified, “I didn’t sleep at all.” I pointed to him and crooked my finger and said, “Come with me out into the hall – you’re not in trouble.” Then I turned and walked to the doorway. I didn’t look back because I knew he was following me.

I shut the door so we had the privacy we needed, then I explained I have this quick technique called EFT that most likely could boost his energy. He looked at me askance, but agreed to try it. I told him I would model for him what I wanted him to do and say and he nodded. Then I said three times while tapping the heels of my hands together, “Even though I didn’t sleep and have no energy, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.” He modified it and said that sometimes he loved himself. Then I amended, “You’re open to the idea of deeply and completely loving and accepting yourself.” We both smiled. Then I tapped and said short phrases about his tiredness, and he followed my example: top of our heads, around the eyes, under the nose, and various other points, all the way down to the heels of our hands and our wrists. When we finished, I could see his eyes were no longer at half mast. I asked, “How do you feel?” His look was one of disbelief, and he said, “I feel fine.” So I led him back into the room and he sat at his desk, leaning over to report to his peeps about the experience.

A short time later, Peter, who sat next to Mark, was talking. I said, “I don’t see much writing on your paper.” He explained that he’s always had a hard time reading and remembering what he’s read. I nodded, then pointed to him and crooked my finger. “You’re not in trouble. C’mon with me. And bring your book,” I said. Mark laughed out loud. “Oh, man! ” Mark said. “She’s going to teach you the happy dance!” Out in the hallway, I asked a few questions about his inability to remember what he’s read, we said the set-up phrase, and then we tapped. When we’d finished, I handed him the book and asked him to read the first paragraph on the page. He did. Then I took the book and asked him to tell me what he read. He named three points of the paragraph and I said, “Bingo! I think you’ve got it, Peter!” Back inside the classroom, when I continued to make my rounds, I noticed that Peter’s book was open and he was writing steadily.

The following day, another school, computer class, fourth period after lunch, and the bell had just rung. Sheldon was so wound up, he could not sit down after I’d asked him two times to be seated. His look was challenging me, so I simply pointed to him, crooked my finger, said, “You’re not in trouble – come with me.” And out the door we went. The set-up phrase was, “Even though I’m so jumpy I can’t sit down, and Ms. B likes me and doesn’t want to have to bounce me…” here Sheldon cracked up. “You’re funny, Ms. B.” “It’s true, Sheldon,” I said, “I do like you and don’t want to have to bounce you to the principal’s office because you are so wound up you can’t even sit down.” We tapped. When we were finished, I said, “You look less jumpy. How do you feel?” He looked at me with disbelief and said, “I feel relaxed. Totally relaxed.” “Good,” I said, “Let’s go back inside.” He was angelic and on task and in his seat the entire period.

I can imagine it must seem a bit woo woo to people who haven’t experienced EFT as I have over the years with friends, family, coworkers, and students. But I’m telling you, with few exceptions, it works. It’s one of the most amazing techniques I’ve ever heard of for addressing emotional as well as physical issues effectively and, most of the time, quickly.

I have waited for years to have a topic as important as the one in my book, The Protest, that deals with the religious hijacking of my daughters – and this is it. Look for EFT in my next major story…I have a feeling you’ll really enjoy the happy dancing.


About dkbunnell

Author, blogger, speaker.
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2 Responses to The Happy Dance

  1. Marcia Nord says:

    Students respond to individual attention, not necessarily tapping.

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