Mindfulness means present moment awareness with attitudes like warmth, curiosity and acceptance. These qualities are key to a great teacher. Have you ever had a teacher that didn’t manage to teach very well? What did they do that didn’t work? I’d say in my personal experience, teachers that struggle to connect with their students:
- Are not in the present moment – they don’t notice the interest level and needs of the class and are overly obsessed with their lesson plan.
- Are not warm or compassionate – they are too rigid and cause frustration due to lack of flexibility.
- Lack curiosity – they see the syllabus as a list of things to ‘get through’. This dispels any natural enthusiasm the class has for the subject.
- They are not accepting of their students – rather than acknowledging what the students can do, they focus on what they can’t do.
- Spend a few moments grounding yourself before the lessons. Take a couple of deep breaths and really feel the breaths coming out of your nose. This helps to engage your relaxation response and makes you more connected to your senses rather than your worries.
So, to be a better teacher, consider what I call being a ‘mindful teacher‘. Try the following:
- Look at your class. Respond to their facial expressions and behaviour, rather than just what they say.
- Focus on the class rather than just the blackboard or project. Let your attention be wide and open
- Be genuinely curious about what you’re teaching. Try and share your questions rather
than just feeding your answers to the class. Draw the knowledge out of your student by using lots of questions.
- Create material that gets your students alert, awake and in the moment. Challenging projects, team activities and games help to bring the class into the moment.
Whatever you do, remember to stay centred and focused. A little bit of mindfulness meditation has been shown to have a positive effect on the brain and therefore leads to making your lessons better too. It can also offer you a well-deserved rest.
You can do this by reading books like ‘Mindfulness For Dummies’ by Alidina or ‘Wherever you Go, There you are’ by Kabat-Zinn. Or if you want to learn properly, consider doing a distance learning course by contacting learnmindfulness.co.uk , run by the author of the international bestselling books ‘Mindfulness For Dummies’ and ‘Relaxation For Dummies’.