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Scientific evidence that mindfulness produces demonstrable effects on well-being and health is well established.(1) Mindfulness classes are offered in many different contexts, to healthcare professionals, secondary school students or patients suffering from depression.(2) There is now also a significant body of research showing that mindfulness-based methods to develop empathy lead to a decrease in the biological markers of stress. (3)(4) Participants found they had greater compassion for themselves and for others after just two weeks of applying the techniques.(5) Happier teachers means happier students. An article in next month's Review of Educational Research corroborates existing studies on how teacher empathy improves student's engagement and achievement.(6)

Published in Meditation Blog
Tuesday, 30 August 2011 08:15

School meditation

I’m a casual high school teacher. In some countries it’s called a ‘supply’ teacher, some kids call me a ‘substitute’ teacher. If they say, ‘oh yay, we have a sub,’ I say, ‘Yep, you’ve got Super-sub.’ I prefer the term ‘casual’ because I like to be casual about my work. That doesn’t mean I don’t take care to do my job well, I do take care, it means that I view my work with a light touch.

If you don’t have a sense of humour as a teacher, you go a little crazy. You get grumpy, dour and just plain unhappy. The kids can be tough. Some of them see a change of teacher as a reason to play up. I don’t take any of it personally. That helps me stay calm, and when I’m calm, I can be clear. When I’m clear minded, I’m more likely to make wise choices about how to handle situations. If I stay calm and clear, my day is fine, no matter what the kids throw at me, so I practice meditation throughout the day.

Published in Meditation Blog