My focus this year has been spreading the word about the benefits of mindfulness in the classroom. I have had the unbelievable good fortune of presenting at a number of different events about the ways that I have incorporated mindfulness into my classroom and my life. I LOVE talking about mindfulness to anyone who is willing to listen..and lately there have been many people listening and asking great questions!
When I speak to teachers about my research and how I have incorporated it into my curriculum, I always start by reminding teachers that they need mindfulness just as much as there students. Having a practice of your own is so important and beneficial. Let’s face it…the teaching profession has changed a lot in the last decade and it seems like there are just as many anxious and burned out teachers as there are students. As I mentioned in my last post on this topic, that has a lot to do with the fact that teachers have more and more on their plates. We have got to start grabbing that oxygen mask so that we can better take care of the students that walk through our doors every day!!
More than likely, this is not the message that your administration is sending to you. You probably have not had your principal or superintendent cancel any meetings lately or tell you to just go right home after work and take a break (and if you have…you are one of the very lucky ones!) Many school districts are seeing the need for and the benefit of mindfulness for their students, but really need to start by providing mindful opportunities for their teachers and staff. If it can start here, I truly believe that it will take flight all over the school.
As I have mentioned before, I am a strong believer that mindfulness should NOT be introduced to an entire school or district as something that everyone must start to implement. This will cause mindfulness to be just another thing that teachers are asked to do and you will not get buy in from everyone. Instead, I believe that it should be introduced and nurtured with those teachers who have an interest in it. Recently, at my school, we started doing a “Mindful Morning”. On Thursday mornings, those teachers who are interested join me in my classroom for a 10-15 mindfulness session. We take time to share with one another some of the mindfulness resources that we have found and then we do a guided exercise together. To start, we utilized the guided exercises on the Calm App so that no one had to prepare anything (and because the app is just so wonderful!)
Many of us who have been regulars have discussed starting every day this way. It is such a positive and relaxing way to get into the day. I really think that this is a great way to not only build a mindful community within your school, but also a way to foster self care among teachers. It is so important and needed in our profession right now!
**If you are interested in learning more about how to incorporate Mindfulness into your classroom or would like me to present at your school, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org