HEROES OF EVERY DAY: A new classroom teacher prepares students for life News

Dan Vivion is a teacher at Tahlequah High School who is offering a new class this semester to help students prepare for life.

Life Skills Prevention is a nine-week elective course designed to teach students about social media, personal hygiene, mindfulness, experiencing the presence, developing empathy, understanding emotions, building self-esteem, kindness, Internet safety, and drug prevention. The course even includes a week in which children learn about the humanities through art and film.

Vivion hails from Pryor, but has moved to Tahlequah to attend Northeastern State University, where he specializes in theater and has performed with River City Players.

For 11 years, he became a full-time caretaker for his family and cared for his grandmother. After her death, he joined TMS as a substitute teacher for the Drama and Choir.

This is his first year teaching his own class. He sat with TMS administrators who found that a new kind of curriculum was needed.

“Honestly, it fell into my lap. I was here for two years and they wanted to add an optional subject, “said Vivion. “When they opened a new classroom, it seemed to fit. We have been thinking about what children need today. “

Vivion’s class doesn’t look like everyone else. It uses lamps instead of fluorescent ceiling lights. It is common for them to play relaxing music, and students are greeted by a sweet scent as they enter the room.

“It’s a place where they can relax. We make a diary every day. I think they enjoy it the most, “he said. “It’s time to let your mind go and talk about things that aren’t talked about in other classes. We do a lot of popcorn questions.”

He asks his class things like, “What did you learn this week? or “How can we be a little kinder to others?” Once a week, relaxation exercises are performed on yoga mats to better clear the mind. Students sit in silence for 10 minutes and then tell the class what they are grateful for or what was the most popular part of their week.

“We respect everyone’s answers. They learn to be nice to each other in a group, “he said.

In the Vivion classroom, she uses current technology to teach children, including the use of YouTube and other online materials.

“I know the time well and the students. We use YouTube and watch motivational clips because they love YouTube. If you show them YouTube, they’re in it, “he said.

On Friday, the class will disconnect from technology by putting away their Chromebooks and phones. It is typical for Vivion to play board games and cards with students.

“We are leaving the outside world out of class. I have those who complain about it, but overall they are quite biased. For me, it’s seeing a smile on their faces. When they don’t have their faces on their Chromebooks, I feel like I’m doing a good job, “said Vivion.

Emotional intelligence is an important topic that Vivion addresses. High school students go through many changes that require them to rediscover and redefine who they are as humans. For many, this process may seem too stimulating and overwhelming.

“I think now, in the times we live in, if we can talk about how to be nice to someone, how to be present, how to protect yourself when you’re online, and how to have time with the people in the room. “This is one of the most important lessons we can teach the next generation,” he said.

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