By Chad McGehee, Center outreach specialist and mindfulness teacher for school-based contemplative practice interventions
I know firsthand from being a classroom teacher and instructional coach for many years how difficult it can be to be a teacher day in and day out. Part of the promise that contemplative practice offers is changing our way of relating to things.
The world around teachers may continue to be difficult – home situations; situations in the wider community may continue to be challenging. And the teacher’s ability to meet those circumstances day in and day out are going to continue to allow them to impact students.
One of the practices that I’ve benefitted from, and many teachers have benefitted from in our interventions, is a loving-kindness practice. In this practice, we cultivate a particular way of being with our experience.
So it starts with finding the body in the chair in a comfortable way. Just allowing the body to settle. Maybe taking a few breaths. And we will offer ourselves, ourselves the teachers, wishes of well-being.
So I’ll say these out loud, and you can offer these wishes to yourself.
May I be safe
May I be happy
May I be healthy
May I live with ease
And just notice the effect in the body and mind of offering these wishes. Whatever’s there is OK.
And now let’s offer these same wishes to our students. So bringing your students to mind.
May you be safe
May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you live with ease
And again, whatever sensations or thoughts or emotions come up, just allow them to be there as we begin this process of cultivating a way of being with our experience that promotes our own well-being and the well-being of those around us.
Thank you for exploring this loving-kindness practice with us.
Hopefully, it was beneficial for you.
I know as a teacher, often times difficult situations arise in our classroom and in our communities, and these practices can be a way for us to relate to our experience in ways that promote kindness and well-being not only for ourselves, but for our students. So I invite you to continue to explore these practices in your role as a teacher and explore how it might benefit you and those around you.