I was speaking with a friend who was helping me out with a project I am working on. After we were finished talking, she asked me how I was doing: staying at home with my two sweet babies. She had seen the bomb site that is our upstairs living room (laundry EVERYWHERE) and the dog hair, the toys, the laundry, the dishes…did I mention the laundry?
She said that the best advice she had been given when she became a mom 22 years ago, was to “secure her own oxygen mask first before helping others”. She likened me to the captain and reminded me that if the captain goes down, everyone goes down.
I have been pondering this and she is right on many levels and the analogy is very apt for busy parents staying at home and raising a family. But it is also true for pretty much everyone. If you are well taken care of, well rested, well fed, well nourished by the books/people/things/spaces that make you feel good, you are in a much better position to share of yourself for others.
Many teachers are notoriously bad at this (no scientific research, just observation). We want to help our colleagues, our principals, our team, our students, our parents and so often we put all of these people above our own needs.
What do you want in the kids that you teach?
Here are some possible ideas:
- Kids that will prioritize their health: drinking water, using the bathroom, eating a healthy lunch, getting outside and breathing fresh air.
- Kids that are mindful of themselves, seek to be mindful in their intentions, take time to reflect on their learning and where they are going.
- Kids that come to school well rested with a good breakfast in their belly.
- Kids that listen to each other and ask questions, lots of them. And then listen some more.
- Kids who are open to new ways of doing and new ways of showing what they know.
These things are not going to happen without some seriously mindful teachers, modeling this behavior for their students. Mindfulness is not a new concept but it is one that is taking off in education and for good reason. Having clarity about your intentions puts you one (giant) step closer to achieving your goals.
One of the most mindful practitioners I have had the pleasure of knowing is Neila Steele. She is the very definition of a mindful educator – and parent, wife, friend, all round great person. Her husband, Andy Vasily, hosted a session with her on his Run Your Life podcast with her on this topic. In the podcast, they cover the following:
What is mindfulness?
Specific mindfulness strategies
The power of visualization
Teacher and student well being
The importance of breath awareness
Take a listen to the podcast. And think about your own life. What one change could you make today that would better equip you in serving others tomorrow? How can you take a more mindful approach to your own well being in order to be the best teacher/colleague/friend/parent/spouse possible?