There is a lot of focus on how mindfulness can help students, but teachers can reap the benefits of mindfulness too, even when their students aren’t around.
Some of the main benefits of mindfulness for educators include:
- Less stress and anxiety
- Stronger relationships with students
- Better communication skills
- More empathy
- Less physical tension
- Deeper self-awareness
Plus, when you have a mindfulness practice of your own, you’ll be in a better place to guide your students in this important skill.
3 ways to incorporate mindfulness into team meetings
Team meetings are great opportunities for educators to learn about and practice mindfulness. These meetings are some of the few opportunities that teachers have to spend time as a group. Depending on what’s on the agenda, many teachers say that these meetings can sometimes feel hectic, rushed, and even tense.
By incorporating mindfulness into these team meetings, even in small ways, you can help make them peaceful gatherings where everyone’s emotional well-being is protected.
It isn’t necessary to lead a guided meditation during your meeting, although mindfulness meditation has many research-backed benefits for mental health. Starting slow, and incorporating mindfulness in more subtle ways, might make it easier to get teachers’ buy-in.
Here are 3 simple and quick mindfulness activities you can use during team meetings to support teachers’ emotional well-being.
Start with a mindful breath
One simple way to incorporate mindfulness into team meetings is by opening the meeting with a mindful breathing exercise. This doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Even just three in-breaths, and three out-breaths, are enough to calm the nervous system when they’re taken mindfully.
You can make this a routine part of your team meetings. If you are able to, arrive at these team meetings a few minutes early. Take some time to yourself to breathe mindfully and center yourself. When teachers begin to arrive, invite them to join you. Hopefully, this manner of walking into and starting meetings peacefully will become routine with time.
Introduce the teachers participating in these team meetings to the concept of mindful speech. Especially when discussing heated topics, people sometimes speak before they think. This can cause them to say things in anger that they don’t mean or to talk over one another.
When using mindful speech, team members should be very aware and intentional about the words they speak, and the tone they use. Ask team members to take one breath in and one breath out before saying anything. This is an especially important reminder if you notice anyone in the group becoming frustrated.
You can also consider introducing some sort of “talking stick,” or an object that gets passed around that allows people to speak. Having a prop like this can help people pause before blurting anything out.
Set an intention
Setting a clear agenda for every meeting is good practice for team meetings in general. You can incorporate mindfulness into these agendas by asking the group to participate. If you’re leading the meeting, take some time beforehand to set a mindful intention. This intention should be deeper than the agenda of “to-do” tasks to cover during the meeting.
What do you hope the team will gain from this meeting? What do you hope they will take home with them? What do you hope they’ll learn that they can apply to their work with students? How do you hope they’ll feel when leaving the meeting?
Share this intention with your team before beginning the meeting. You can even write this intention where everyone can see it; this might remind the group of what your common goal is and help you not get sidetracked. If you have time, consider allowing others to contribute to the intention as well. Do any other team members have a mindful intention for the meeting?
These are all small but impactful ways you can implement mindfulness into your team meetings and help your teachers benefit from this powerful practice.
Calm Classroom doesn’t only care about students — we care about teachers, too. Get in touch with us to find out more about how Calm Classroom can help you start a mindfulness program and improve emotional well-being in your school district.