Educators are some of the most big hearted & hard headed people I know. Underneath that deceivingly thick skin is an incredible desire to take care of those in your charge, whatever the cost, and take care you do, putting aside your own needs to make sure your students experience a few hours a day of safety, belonging, nourishment and inspiration.
The education world is no longer just about education, children are coming to school with a growing list of trauma and adversity that stand in the way of the traditional teach and learn model. On top of the demands from those above you, there is an unspoken call to support the unmet needs of those around you on physical, mental, emotional and social levels.
the question: How do you do all of this and still thrive?
The answer: change your mind.
Educator Centered Mindfulness is a program I created to support teachers, administrators and all school staff members in changing their approach to their personal and professional lives so that they can strike a balance between caring for others and being cared for. The work empowers both educators and students to understand how to use mindfulness to support themselves in and out of school.
Sustainability and practicality is at the heart of all my work. Together we move year by year through different phases and applications of Mindfulness to meet you, your educators and students where they are.
Pillars of Work Know Thyself | Mindfulness | Relationships | Taking Care | Second Hand Trauma Mindful Communication | Personal Empowerment | Cultivating Positivity | Transformation
Elements of the Program Monthly Professional Development Modules Guided Mindfulness Practices Monthly Group Support/Practice Individual Check In Coaching & Consulting Sessions In Class Mindfulness Modeling Guided Workbook
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My Journey to Mindfulness
My story begins in 6th grade, when I began experiencing depression and anxiety related to the stress that was going on both in my home life and at school. It was debilitating and despite always having a positive relationship with school I began to dread it. The biggest problem was that people didn't know that I was struggling, because I was a "good student," who didn't make a fuss or cause any issues. Even though I was suffering, I couldn't bring myself to show it or ask for support, so I carried on doing my best, getting good grades, not giving anyone cause for concern. Despite what was going on, I knew that this current state wasn't a place I wanted to settle, that it absolutely was a place that I could settle if I wasn't careful and finally that there were things that I could do to help myself out. So I began doing little things to help myself feel happier in the mornings, calm during the day and worthy in the evenings. It was all simple and although none of this "cured" me of my depression, it all helped to get me through my day. This taught me the first very important principle of mindfulness: it doesn't matter how elaborate the practice is, but if practiced regularly it will make a big difference. Although I continued to struggle with depression and anxiety for another decade, I will always credit my little practices as being something that kept me away from the edge. With time and the continued experience of depression and anxiety, my practices became more intentional and elaborate until they were able to finally help me overcome my struggle. This 'victory' taught my the second important principle: the life-changing results come not because of the practices, but because of the shift in mindset that the practices provide.
It was this personal experience that became the backbone of my work in schools- and what fueled me to get involved in the first place. Upon these informal practices came more formal studies and explorations. My work and my practice are both constantly evolving, because I understand very personally that our struggles change every day and so must our approach to them. Life is not a one-size-fits-all, so anything that is supporting life cannot be either. After years of working with students, sharing principles and practices, it became clear that I had created a disjointed system: by going into an environment and only supporting/teaching one element of the environment I was never going to see full spectrum, sustainable results. After all, we are in many ways a result of the environment we come from, so if I wanted to truly support the community I must support the environment, not the child alone. This brought my to my next principle: happy teachers change the world. The classroom is a reflection of the teacher: if you want to support the child you must support environment, if you want to support the environment you must support the teacher. Even though it seemed like I was taking a step back, I was really taking steps forward to achieve greater impact with the resources that I have.
Here's the thing: we all struggle, regardless of age, gender, class or race, it is how we approach and manage our struggles that separate us. There are students in your class who you know are struggling with their own battles, but there are also students in your class who you don't know are struggling, because they hide it well, the way I did. Extending mindfulness to the classroom is a way of creating a supportive, empowered environment every day, for everyone, even those who are afraid to ask.