I grew up in the land of the horse. Everyone was so sure I was going to have a career within that world; even I was quite sure that would be my destiny. Life is life, and after some twists, turns, bumps, and even stops, I chose to have a career within public education. Secondary education has been my focus, and for the past five years, I’ve been teaching seventh grade reading and language arts.
Ninety-five 11-12 years old enter my classroom daily. Ninety-five sets of eyes knowingly and unknowingly look to me for guidance. My guidance is suppose to fall under reading and language arts, but it doesn’t. More often than not, my kids look to me for life guidance. Even though my classroom is not an arena, I still apply my dressage skills to these kids.
To me, dressage is convincing a horse to do movements using the least restrictive measures. If a rider is forceful and restrictive, what happens to the horse? It becomes tense, stressed, and disengaged. Dressage takes a lot of give and take, positive reinforcement, praise, repetition, and most importantly time.
All that was mentioned is my goal of handling my students and the people I surround myself. Unfortunately, I see more restrictive people working with the public. Just like a horse, if you are loud, abrasive, and negative, the people around you will become tense, stressed, and less engaged. My goal for you is to become a dressage rider outside of the horse world. Handle your interactions with others with a lot of give and take, positive reinforcement, praise, repetition and time.
Amber Long is a schoolteacher and Area VIII eventer “on extended maternity leave.” Check out her previous EN submissions here.