The end of the year is here, but it is not quite time to check out! Yeah yeah, I know state testing is over, field days or Senior ditch-days have come and gone, and some of your colleagues may or may not be connecting every lesson to Encanto or Remember The Titans. I know that you are TIRED and that a “teacher tired” hits quite differently. But, as the year comes to an end, there is one very important thing that every educator (and their students) should be doing. 

What is that one thing you might ask?

Practicing Mindfulness. 

Mindfulness has been reduced down to the practice of sitting still. However, if we take it back to the dictionary’s definition of mindfulness, it is “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” And, there are actually several social-emotional benefits to practicing mindfulness (check them out)! 

This year, educators across America have been running on auto-pilot and fueled by coffee, Dr. Peppers, and Red Bulls. Now, it’s time to turn the auto-pilot off and regain control of our minds. Why, because if we really want to be change-makers in classrooms, schools, and communities next school year, we must start now by first changing our minds. 

This process starts with acknowledging the good and the bad of the year and retraining our brains to accept the fact that while we can’t stop the waves that will possibly come, we do have the ability to learn how to surf.  Are you going to jump on a board or run back to shore?

I empower each of you to use the remainder of this school year and the summer to begin setting intentions for the upcoming school year? What kind of person, teacher, leader, and changemaker do you want to be? How will you reach your goal?

Being intentional about mindfulness can be challenging. If you don’t know where to begin, here are a few tips:

  1. Meditate on your wins from this school year and allow yourself ONE minute each day to sit with your wins. 
  1. Check-In with yourself each day and make a physical or mental list of the things you are grateful for from this school year. 
  1. When you can’t find the silver lining in your situation, find it in someone else’s. Take a moment to check-in with a colleague, student, or friend and help them find the good. Then, turn the mirror back on you and consider if things are really that bad. 
  1. Treat your body kindly by taking time to brush your teeth, comb your hair, or moisturize your body. The sun is out in most states so this is also a great time to pull out those bright colors and wear them with pride!
  1. Reach out and grab something in front of you and reflect on what you notice. 
  1. Schedule in pause breaks throughout your day and, most importantly, 
  1. Don’t compare your mindfulness practice, or anything else, to others. 

TwistED Teaching is committed to  cultivating Culturally Responsive learning spaces. Key to this journey is creating spaces where students know that you care for them and not just care about them. However, you can not create a space that cares for others if you do not first care for yourself. 

You’ve been tending to others this entire year. Now that the summer is near, how will you intentionally and mindfully care for the U in edUcator?