Yet we must not forget, too, that if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t possibly take care of our students. We educators must find ways to keep balance. At the same time, it is something that might sound somewhat complicated or mystical to the everyday person. Are you in the present moment? Are you obsessing about the future? Are you buried in the junk heap of the past?
Education World has some tips for the hard-working, dedicated modern educator to take pause to nurture the self and recharge for the day’s great work. Meditation is by no means just for yogis and zen masters. Meditation is about taking pause to reconnect to yourself and reconnect to the present moment, re-centering yourself and checking your mind to assure that you are dealing with what is directly in front of you and not ruminating about the mistakes of yesterday or tomorrow’s upcoming challenges. For many of us, the day never ends: Up early, prepping for lessons, classroom, meetings, grading, reflection, after school support, chores, food, and pass out for the night. We know it all too well.
However, you might find it useful to take 10 to 15 minutes every once in a while to really lose yourself in a moment of complete engagement. When it hits you hard, you sometimes start to resent how much of your time and energy goes into your profession. About 40 essays or 50 lab reports in, your mind starts to numb and you dream of sunshine and the small tiki bar you could maybe open down on the coast. For some, this might seem silly. Think about what a night devoted to pampering looks like for you.
A hot bath, wine, dark chocolate, and a massage might be your bag. Or perhaps a “Doctor Who” marathon with the cats, your favorite snacks, a big blanket, and a nice long nap. These things remind us that we deserve tender self-care and attention. We’ll admit, at first glance, this might seem counterintuitive. Aren’t students indirectly linked to our daily stress? However, we must accept that we as educators can sometimes get lost in the power dynamic between teacher and student.
Surely, this is a sacred relationship, and it is this professional bond that allows us to encourage budding minds to grow. Still, we sometimes forget that our students are not just academics, starving for knowledge. For some of us, the last thing we want to do after a day of running around in the classroom is to run around in a gym. Unfortunately for this mindset, the science tells us that even a small amount of exercise can do wonders in helping us manage our daily stresses. There are a number of phenomenal mindfulness apps out there that support both self-reflection and meditative moments you can use in the course of the school day. Many provide extremely quick, mid-day meditations to help teachers to recenter and arrive to the present moment.
Stop, Breathe, and Think is a guided meditation app that not only allows you to choose your own meditation experience, but also suggests useful meditations, based on how you are feeling on that particular day. Calm is set up for both online browsing and app use, which makes it incredibly accessible during the work day. Includes an array of meditative visuals and soundscapes with quick meditative moments, full guided meditations, and the ability to track your progress. Smiling Mind is a user-friendly introductory meditative app that provides specific meditation programs for different age groups, ranging from age 7 to adult, including short as well as extended mindfulness exercises. Insight Timer is a great app that provides a number of guided meditations, but also includes a simple meditation timer you can use anywhere. Omvana is more of a personal library of meditation and mindfulness talks by the top professionals in the field. From guided meditations to thoughtful lessons, this app allows users easy access to superb training and reflections.
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