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By Elizabeth Stein
This entry was originally published in Education Week on June 10, 2015. Thank you to Elizabeth Stein for granting us permission to share the article.
As the school year winds down, effective teachers everywhere are reflecting on their experiences and translating them into a plan for another successful school year ahead. It doesn’t matter what grade or subjects you teach, how long you’ve been teaching, or where—there are three universal things that all educators can to do be a better teacher in the fall.
1. Practice Mindfulness
The word mindful itself can create a nice sense of inner calm. When a person is mindful, he or she is present in the moment, fully aware, and accepting of his thoughts, surroundings, and situation as a part of the natural process of experiencing life.
Mindful people are observant and responsive—not reactive. Instead of judging people or situations, they accept them. This state of awareness holds special value for teachers. It keeps us taking care of ourselves despite our busy schedules and long list of responsibilities.
In addition, mindfulness can make us better teachers. Just think about the last time you experienced stress at any point—for any reason—in the midst of your school day. How did you handle it? Hopefully the results were positive. But if stress isn’t handled well, it can adversely affect lessons, relationships, and even our personal energy level.
Mindfulness is a surefire way to become aware of our emotions but also to take charge and use them in ways that result in positive relationships with ourselves and our students, colleagues, parents, and family members.