Over the past few years, we have been learning more about how the emotional state of the teacher greatly impacts students. If our teachers are calm, happy, and patient, then students tend to learn more. The opposite is also true. If a teacher is stressed, disrespected, and not supported then the stress they feel impedes their ability to reach their full capacity for teaching.
Executive functioning is impaired by stress. When we are stressed, we are not able to be fully present. In the classroom, this can manifest in big, impactful ways. For example, if a student is having issues – we may be too agitated to see the scene clearly. Misunderstandings can arise when we are not in a present state (we don’t need to be in a good state, but awareness is key for responding rather than reacting).
One of the biggest indicators of growth in the classroom is when students feel seen and heard by their teachers without judgment. And so, success in the classroom is heavily dependent upon the connection and emotional availability teachers forge with their students.
As educators, when we lead with an open heart and an open mind, students can feel more accepted as they are in that moment, allowing them to lower their guards and focus on learning.
Today, SEL or Social-Emotional Learning, has become household jargon. As a result of the pandemic, many schools are more openly focusing on SEL to help students as they re-adjust to in-person learning. Parents all over the country are becoming more aware of SEL in the classroom and how mindfulness practices can help students of all ages.
But can mindfulness truly improve your ability to lead and teach within the classroom? That’s a resounding yes.
There’s a saying, “It is said that the teacher’s presence in the classroom is the unwritten curriculum.” As an educator, it is an invaluable asset to be able to fully present in the classroom as it dictates the environment. Research has shown that teachers who practice mindfulness have improved emotional well-being, are more compassionate to students and their individual needs, and are able to be more effective in the classroom.
At Mindful Kids Miami, we offer an 8-week experiential series called Mindful Teacher Training Program. This program uses didactic teaching, discussion, and role play to explore and embody the qualities of a mindful teacher and to learn how to bring children and teens from Pre-K to 12th grade, age-appropriate mindfulness practices, games, activities, and social skills – all based on social-emotional learning. Please note that completing the MBSR program is a pre-requisite to this course.
If you are interested in learning more about how to bring mindfulness practices to your school, please get in touch. We also launched our Mindfulness Champions program this school year in partnership with Miami-Dade Public Schools.