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Working in Education

Working Meditation as a Teacher | Mindfulness in Schools

Johannes works as a teacher in a Danish school.

He practices mindfulness on a daily basis and integrates meditation practices into his daily life.

In the following, he shares about his mindfulness practice and his experience creating a meditation/mindfulness class in his school.


Question #1: Mindfulness and Working as a Teacher

In this first video, he describes his usual workday chronologically.

Starting as early as waking up in the morning and ending by taking the train home.


Question #2: Dealing with Stress and Tiredness as a Teacher

Especially as a teacher work can be challenging.

Work-related stress and burn out are not unusual for school teachers.

In the following short video, he elaborates a little about his way of dealing with stress and tiredness.


I asked Johannes to write a short introduction to share in more detail about working mindfully as a teacher.

Further, he is lucky to be able to teach a mindfulness class and explains a little about his approach teaching meditation to teenagers:

Mindfulness at Work as a Teacher ( by Johannes)

I’ll write about two different, but very connected things:

My own practice of mindfulness as a school teacher, and some experiences with facilitating a mindfulness class at school.

My Own Practice as a Teacher

This year I teach a literature class with students at the age of 14 and 15 years.

On the wall behind me, I’ve hung the four practices of diligence:

  1. Watering wholesome seeds
  2. Celebrating wholesome flowers
  3. Not watering unwholesome seeds
  4. Helping unwholesome flowers to return to the seed state.

I’ve told the students that I try to practice these four things during every lesson, and if any of them feels inspired to practice them as well, they are welcome to do so.

In this way, I try to remind myself of how I want to interact with the students, when I enter the classroom.

I also remind myself of practicing in other ways:

  • I invite my colleagues to a short guided meditation once a week during the lunch break.
  • Whenever I walk to and from a class, I try to remember to walk mindfully.
  • A special passage in the school beginning from the teachers’ room and to another area with different classrooms I consider a mindfulness zone. That means that I try to remember at least to walk mindfully whenever I pass through this passage.
  • When I eat my lunch and drink my tea during the breaks, I try to do so mindfully without anyone around me knowing it.
  • When I walk to the train station in the morning, I try to walk mindfully.
  • When I sit on the train, I always begin by writing a four-line poem as my way of digesting some small situation from the day before or the same morning.
  • If I meet a colleague on the train, I try to listen and talk mindfully.
  • When I walk from work to the train station, I try to walk mindfully, enjoying my steps, the wind on my face and nature around me.

mindfulness schools

Experiences with Facilitating a Mindfulness Class

This is the third year that I am part of facilitating a mindfulness class at school.

The class is an elective class for students in 7th, 8th and 9th grade.

The first year 20 students participated with one teacher, the second year 30 students participated with two teachers, and this year 64 students are participating with three teachers.

The class consists of practicing together following a sequence of practices that runs like this:

  • Week 1: Deep relaxation. Simple shiatsu. Sharing.
  • Week 2: Walking meditation. Tea meditation. Working meditation (washing up). Sharing.
  • Week 3: Deep relaxation. Qigong. Sharing.
  • Week 4: Sitting meditation. Tea meditation. Working meditation (washing up). Sharing.
  • Week 5: Eating meditation (every student brings something to the breakfast table). Lazy time. Sharing.

This sequence is repeated, and in that way, there is at the same time variation and a spiral of slowly deepening the different practices.

Facilitating the mindfulness class has been and continues to be a great joy and inspiration.

To practice together three teachers and 64 students is something very special and beautiful.

Just being together, relaxing together, drinking tea together – it’s very refreshing and feels very meaningful.

The year is divided into four periods focusing on four different main themes during the sequence:

  1. Mindfulness of the body and touching happiness
  2. Mindfulness of the feelings and handling strong emotions
  3. Mindfulness in daily life at school
  4. Mindfulness, studying and anxiety related to tests.

The students who have followed the class the first two years have said that the class created a sense of togetherness between the students of the class, showed that very simple things can be beautiful, and helped them relax.

Some of the students have told that they practiced deep relaxation the evening before a test and felt that it was helpful the day of the test.

Both kinds of practice, my own at work as a teacher, and practicing together with students in the mindfulness class are very nourishing.

My personal practice helps me handle sometimes difficult conditions better than I would do without practicing.

Practicing with the mindfulness class gives a lot of joy and happy energy!


Special thanks to Johannes for offering this sharing!

May it help many teachers and benefit their students as well.


You can find more information about mindfulness in education here:

Wake Up Schools: Cultivating Mindfulness in Education


I know you are there and I am very happy 🙂


 

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