In the 2015-16 school year, we made our first foray into bringing mindfulness into our classrooms. We trained all of our elementary teachers in the MindUp program. This program is designed to teach our students about how the brain works, how stress can overload the brain, how having little or no downtime prevents the brain from operating at maximum potential, and how knowing all that can be helpful as students try to be as effective and sane as they possibly can.
When we trained our teachers in mindfulness and the MindUp program, one of the immediate results was they were very appreciative of it themselves! Being a teacher is a very stressful existence. Our teachers can never do enough for their students, and often don’t have any downtime throughout the day and well into the evening. And when there is downtime, there is often stress and guilt associated with the fact that they are not doing even more for their students. I am so appreciative of what all great teachers do to help their students be successful, and I know it can take a mental and emotional toll. This program, which started for our students, I believe also helped many of our professionals.
Get Some Headspace is a book that, again, looks at the brain science behind why mindfulness is good, gives practical techniques for what to do, and I think is a nice intro into this whole subject. There is an app that goes along with it that offers a few guided meditations, and you can pay more in the app if you like it and want to keep on going. I liked the book, but did not love it, but I still think it’s a great intro into mindfulness.