Educators are some of the most hard headed & big hearted 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, security, nourishment and peace
...Because 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.
But here's the thing... Exhaustion and depletion should not be the second hand effects of your job. They are the result of giving what you do not have left to give, be it time, energy or mental/emotional support, all the while taking on the second hand trauma and adversity around you. They're holding you back from showing up as your best self, in the classroom and at home, for your students, your family and most importantly for yourself.
I want you to know that there is another option, one where you can keep doing what you’re doing for your students without feeling worn down and unsupported
is a program I created for teachers, administrators and all school staff members, Teaching you what it means to take care and support yourself every day Supporting you in building mindful, cup-filling practices into your daily schedule in ways that work Reminding you of the value of your own wellbeing, both for yourself and your students
The result? A new perspective on and approach to what it means to care and be cared for, one that is sustainable for and reflective of you and your life, in the classroom and beyond.
Topics Covered: Know Thyself | Mindfulness | Relationships | Second Hand Trauma | Transformation Mindful Communication | Taking Responsibility | Passion & Play | Deep Connections
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.