Mindfulness for Educators

Each of us can recall that one teacher from our past who made a real difference in our lives. Perhaps he or she challenged us to look at ourselves or the world a little differently. Maybe it was some feedback that was painful to accept at the time, but helped us to raise the bar for all our future endeavors. Or it could simply have been a genuine interest in who we were beyond the confines of the classroom. Whatever it was that calls this person to mind, he or she expressed sensitivity…sensitivity to our needs as a learner and an individual…sensitivity to how we interacted…and sensitivity to building a safe, nurturing climate in which we all could prosper.

We must wonder how these special people were able to maintain such presence and awareness in what can be a very challenging space. Every learner brings a unique personality and background into the room. And there is only so much time to truly get to know everyone while ensuring that learning still takes place. Teachers must also closely manage behavior, which for many is the most challenging part of the profession. How do they prevent one student’s minor disruption from derailing the learning of everyone else in the room?  The teacher’s job is a daunting one and to be successful, they must know how to take care of themselves first.

A relatively new and exciting field of research has found that teachers are most effective in the classroom when they are “healthy, focused and emotionally balanced” (Jennings et al., 2016).

Mindulness_Definition.jpgProfessional development programs such as CARE* (Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education), CALM (Community Approach to Learning Mindfully) and PATHS (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) are helping teachers to better manage stress, regulate their emotions and practice sensitivity in their classroom interactions. Brian and Ann of Team Sun Wellness have been trained in the CALM program and have seen first-hand just how important a few focused breaths and mindful movements at the start of the school day can be for a teacher’s well-being (click here to read our blog post on this experience).

Research also indicates that the stakes for these mindfulness initiatives could never be higher. Brian is currently researching for his doctorate the influence of a teacher’s sensitivity on the development of a child’s core cognitive and socio-emotional functions such as attention, memory, mental flexibility and interpersonal communication. The development of these skills highly predict a child’s healthy adjustment to school, and subsequently to the workplace and society at large (Diamond, 2012).

Team Sun Wellness welcomes the opportunity to introduce mindfulness training into your specific learning environment. We are trained in mindfulness (Penn Medicine), certified yoga instructors (RYT 200), and grounded in results-oriented academic research. We can provide ongoing mindfulness training to your learning professionals or tailor our sessions to the unique needs of your learning organization.

Find out more about rates on Wellness Offerings.

*Mindfulness Research References

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