At the beginning of the school year, before students come back for classes, our district puts on two days of professional development for the staff and all 40 sessions are led by staff members. It is so awesome to see colleagues embrace new leadership roles and the number of sessions offers so much choice. One of the sessions that I led involved bringing mindfulness into the classroom. I had colleagues from every building level in attendance. My session involved discussing what mindfulness is and what it is not. I spoke about the neuroscience behind mindfulness and even shared how mindfulness may have been part of the Thai soccer team surviving being trapped in the cave for two weeks. The last part of my session allowed attendees to experience a mindfulness exercise.
At the end of the session I had multiple teachers, at all levels, approach me about visiting their classrooms and leading mindfulness exercises with their students. I was fired up to say the least. Now, fast forward to this past Friday. My colleague who teaches Essentials of Communication in which students give several speeches had me come into three of her classes to explain mindfulness, how it could help with stage fright and to offer a mindfulness breathing experience. The students were so receptive. One talked with me after class about how helpful mindfulness had been for him and that schools should start this much earlier. The good news is that we are starting earlier.
At the end of the day I was headed to our elementary building to discuss bringing mindfulness into a 3/4 multiage room. Our first three sessions are planned with the door open to more in the future. I can’t wait to have this experience with some of our younger students. If I could have been empowered at a younger age to “anchor” myself through mindfulness practice I can’t imagine some of the storms I could have weathered in a more positive way.
Next time I will share my experience but in the mean time my challenge to you is to try to give one minute, just one minute per day, to your own mindfulness practice. It takes twenty-one days to form a habit. Let this week be your first seven!!
A couple of resources: