Beginning The School Year —or Anything—With Mindfulness and Compassion
There is nothing like a beginning. Imagine a beginning from your past. First meeting someone. Building your own home. Starting on a vacation. Doing something new, unknown, exciting, scary yet filled with promise.
To start the school year, or anything, it is obvious that we must make plans. We need to determine where we want to go, what we want to accomplish, in order to fulfill those objectives. But we often ignore the emotional side of getting ourselves ready.
No matter what you are beginning, take a moment to feel what you feel and notice your thoughts. Only if you notice your thoughts and feelings can you choose how and whether to act on them. If you’re a teacher, start with understanding what beginning the school year means to you and what you need. Then you can better understand what students need.
Many of us plan our classes or other activities so tightly that the realm of what is possible is reduced to what is safe and already known. It’s not a beginning if you emotionally pretend that you’ve already done it. Take time daily to strengthen your awareness of your own mental and emotional state.
Starting the morning
When I arrive at school energized but anxious, I get out of my car, stop, look at the building and trees around me, and take a few breaths. Then I am in my body, present—not driven by thoughts. After greeting myself, I am more prepared to greet students.
Practice SBC: Stop, Breathe, Notice. Periodically stop what you’re doing, close your eyes, take 3 breaths and notice your thoughts and feelings. Notice how it feels after such a break.
You can do this with students to begin each lesson, or in the middle of a heated discussion….
To read my full post, click on this link to The Good Men Project.