I was sitting this morning grading student work in the Mindful Classroom course I created for Wilson College. The teachers had been reading about integrating mindfulness into K-12 education. The article looked at the impact of bringing mindfulness into the classroom.
One of the themes that came up over and over again was – when am I going to fit this into my schedule??? As I sat with how to respond to the students, I realized that the way they look at teaching and learning, the classroom, and priorities is so vastly different from that of the microschool builders I know.
MICROSCHOOL BUILDERS ARE DIFFERENT
When someone realizes they are being called to open a small school, they have already jumped a number of those hurdles I see in my students mind sets.
The person who is ready to build a school has realized that:
- their personal sanity is the first priority in teaching – because their mind state impacts the energy of the classroom (its the old adage: you must put on your own oxygen mask first, before you put on someone else’s)
- students are the next priority – that kids can’t focus on content when their basic needs for food, shelter, safety and love are not being met
- and that covering content, meeting standards, and passing tests do not necessarily create a happy, focused, and independent learners who will be successful in life
Once a teacher has realized that the system can’t save them, that they can only save themselves – the pathway forward towards building a school becomes clearer. Once a teacher realizes that in taking responsibility for their own happiness, and then that of their students makes learning a joy, they begin to dream of doing something different…
MY RESPONSE TO MY STUDENTS
My response to my students wasn’t what you might expect. I didn’t tell them they are focused on the wrong thing. I didn’t tell them that they were putting content before themselves and their students. I actually asked them to look at their personal experience in the course – having been given a requirement to try on and practice mindfulness for themselves, but with full autonomy over what, how and when. In each case – these teachers are reporting more calm, joy, happiness and space in their lives. My hope is, they will begin to see that I’ve put a high priority on them, vs. the content in the course, modeling the way out of the mind trap they’ve created for themselves. I’m hopeful a few will see the light. Perhaps a few of them will decide to build a microschool of their own one day!
PS: I’d love to hear your thoughts about putting yourself first as a teacher. Hit reply and let me know what you think!
And, if you have decided that the system can’t put students first, and that building a microschool where you’ll place a priority on your own well being and that of students you serve is for you, please book a free 30-minute call with me so that I can offer help.