MINDFULNESS FOR TEACHERS
When I was in the classroom, I was awarded Charleston County Schools (Rookie) Teacher of the Year and was asked to be a model classroom for the school district in my second and third years of teaching. I was often asked about what I was “doing” and why it was so effective. My students were growing both academically and emotionally. There was always a sense of calm in my classroom and students learned together in the community. Even on hard days, outsiders noticed I was always able to stay steady and grounded. At that time, I was just being myself and I didn’t know the research about how mindfulness impacts the brain. I hadn’t studied the positive outcomes in classrooms when teachers remained present. I hadn’t linked (through research studies) the importance of caring for yourself as a person and as a teacher before you can care for others. After returning to school to complete graduate work in Education Advocacy, I had much time and space for contemplation and research.
Emotional stress and poor emotion management
(lack of coping skills) are ranked as the primary reason teachers become discouraged and leave
the teaching profession.
(Montgomery & Rupp 2005; Darling-Hammond 2001)
Thrilled by making connections to what I was already living, I now had an understanding and a language around what “worked” and it continued to become more clear. I had learned through an enormous number of pathways how to live in my presence and with others. This way of being led to a deep knowledge of myself and I was able to stay centered in my being and be fully present for those around me and most importantly, my students.
Studies have shown that when teachers practice mindfulness, they:
• Demonstrate reduced stress and burnout
• Report greater efficacy in doing their jobs
• Report higher rates of self-regulation
• Have more emotionally supportive and better-organized classrooms
(based on independent observations)
Realizing all of this led to the creation of my (4) mindfulness for workshops for teachers.
During my mindfulness for teachers courses, I share stories from my past and my experience in the classroom. I discuss research around the neuroscience of mindfulness and teach simple, mindful living practices.
There is an infinite number of paths to lead you to your presence and I am there to support you along the way.