This week's blog post writer is Molly Kiebel. Molly is a Curriculum & Instruction Specialist with Learners Edge. Prior to joining the Edge, Molly was a high school English language arts teacher. Molly loves helping teachers and students find new ways to grow! Whenever time allows, you’ll find her enjoying the great Minnesota outdoors with her husband and two daughters.
Mindfulness for teachers
If you’d asked me a few years ago what I thought of Mindfulness, I may have laughed or shown you an exaggerated form of my best yoga Warrior pose. I couldn’t have told you how life changing it could be, and I certainly would not have been able to share with you any meaningful reflections.
The truth is, I have always believed in the power of Mindfulness, yoga, and other awareness practices to improve balance and well-being, but I just didn’t feel I had the time to actually do them. I was busy all day—busy teaching, busy grading, busy meeting with parents and colleagues and students—and when I got home, I was busy being a mom, a wife, and an amateur superhero. The art of slowing down seemed a luxury I couldn’t afford.
Fast-forward to the present. In the past year, I’ve finally realized that I can’t afford not to slow down. My well-being is essential to everything else in life, and Mindfulness is a surprisingly easy way to care for myself and a surprisingly easy concept to incorporate into the classroom and school.
The practice of Mindfulness is, at a very basic level, the act of paying attention to the moment. Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Mindfulness for Beginners, Reclaiming the Present Moment—and Your Life, describes it as “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.” These brief respites throughout our day help us manage stress and refocus our energy.
So here are the easiest ways I’ve learned to be more mindful in my daily life. These are also great tips you can use in your classroom to help teach mindfulness to your students and colleagues. I’m sharing them with you now, my busy fellow teachers, because I believe that you will also benefit from the opportunity to stop, observe, breathe, and then continue on with the very important work you do each and every day.