Teachers play a crucial role in the development and upbringing of a child. But the social, emotional and cognitive roles of a mindful teacher are sometimes ignored. Teachers are mostly trained in methods of teaching. This mainly focuses on the academic and theoretical side of teaching. A teacher’s skill to cope up with certain situations and being a fluent interactor among his students makes him a mindful teacher.
The job of a teacher is already challenging enough and burnout is a very usual thing in the daily life of a teacher. This has even been effecting on their personal and social life. As a result, many teachers are leaving the profession to try their hands in other walks of life. As a result, this is causing huge loss in the education sector.
Meanwhile, the recent pandemic situation has made things even harder for people of all walks of life. This includes teachers as well. The current situation can add more to the already stress fuelled business of teaching.
So the necessity of mindfulness techniques are more essential than ever to help teachers handle such pressure. Therefore, mindful practices can help teachers handle their anxiety, exhaustion and work load.
What is mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practice of awareness. It’s the mental state you achieve by focusing calmly on your feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations. Mindfulness is paying attention to your moment to moment thoughts and experiences. It’s about focusing your attention in the present and dismiss all distractions.
Developing attention and awareness is an important factor for a teacher. Mindfulness is one of the best way to enhance your awareness of the present moment. It’s important to be present in your inner experience as well as your outer environment to create the perfect learning atmosphere.
Why mindfulness is necessary for a teacher
Teachers are more likely to suffer from job-related stress than any other professionals. For instance, new teachers may find it hard to interact with students and manage the classroom environment. Meanwhile, experienced teachers may find it difficult to cope up with the new technology. Teachers are subject to stress from a variety of sources. They are:
- Teachers have to abide by strict time demands. Maintaining the exact schedule everyday may subject you to stress.
- The academic workload of a teacher is something which deserves a special mention. Never mind all the disciplinary duties a teacher has to perform. And everything has to be done within a fixed time.
- Controlling disruptive behaviour from student is just an icing on the cake among all the other stressing activities that comes along with the job
- All institutions maintain a set of organizational cultures. Teachers are constantly subjected to scrutiny based on classroom activities. Being accountable to maintain standards is an added bonus pressure on the teachers shoulders.
Evaluating all the responsibilities teachers are accountable to Its almost impossible to match up to the tasks without mindfulness. As a teacher you will need to give up all other distractions while you approach your duty. Only mindfulness can spontaneously install all the capabilities in a teacher.
Mindfulness practices for teachers
Mindfulness is a very important feature for teachers to earn professional development. However, they are always shuffling between academic binding and family responsibilities. So they may not get the sufficient time to think about such practices. Letting thing go as they may occur can cause the teacher to get actively disengaged with their students.
Therefore, the school community should arrange Mindfulness awareness programs. This is the only way to spread the science of mindfulness into a practice among teachers as well as students from a young age. A few easy mindfulness activities that teachers can practice within the school premises are:
You can easily try this basic mindfulness activity anytime and anywhere. You just need to take a seat, close their eyes and take three deep breadths. Feeling the air enter through the nose, entering the lungs and then again coming out through your nose. This exercise will take away all the disrupted you had been carrying in your mind.
Mindful listening is compassionate listening to other people without judgment, criticism or interruption. Actively listening to people talking can give you a break from yourself and your response. This can greatly reduce pain and frustration. The activity will also increase your attention.
Taking time to make a list of things you feel grateful for. Reflecting on things you’re thankful for will enhance your flow of positive emotions. This will make you appreciate yourself and your surroundings a lot more. Make this into a regular practice every day in a specified time. For example the break time of the school hours.
This activity is best done barefoot in the outdoors. While walking bringing awareness to the creating mechanism is a very effective mindfulness. You can concentrate on your feet touching the ground. See whether your body feels light or heavy. Let go of your body and see how your body naturally moves.
Our heart is an involuntary muscle and works spontaneously. It pumps oxygenated blood to different parts of the body. Everyone has a unique heartbeat. This unique rhythm regulates our breathing. So the heart is the perfect organ to connect with the present moment.
The first step of this practice is to take three deep breaths. Secondly place one of your hands around your pulse. Close your eyes and concentrate on the rhythm of your heart. Your current state of stress will slowly return to normal.
The five sense countdown is very helpful way to reduce the feelings of stress and discomfort. The exercise uses all your five senses to bring awareness to the present Moment. To perform this exercise you have to do the following:
- See 5 things you can see
- Touch 4 things you can touch
- Hear 3 things you hear
- Smell 2 things you can smell
- Taste 1 thing you taste
Mindfulness exercises work wonders to improve focus and build awareness. They are very important for modern-day workplaces no matter what profession you are in. Click the linked text to learn more about mindfulness exercises in the workplace.
How mindfulness can help in a classroom
Stress can impact teachers responses. This hampers the overall performance of a teacher. Likewise, this will affect his approach to engage with students. So letting go of all other distractions created by any other work is obligatory.
A teacher has to carry out a variety of responsibilities. Mindfulness is the process of working without stressing about the other ones. Mindfulness activities help teachers with the following:
- Eases up the intensity of stress while doing various works in a short time span.
- Gives you a better perception to managing a stressful situation.
- The above two adds up to enhance your ability of coping with stress.
Teachers find it difficult due to a lack of autonomy. They also don’t get to participate much in Academic decision-making. So they are more subjected to occupational stress. Practising mindfulness can be a great way to reduce the stress and create a better work-life balance.