The mindful teacher

Rx for Teachers Teachers, especially those in urban settings, are under attack. Every day they hear about mass firings, school closings, pressure to raise test scores, and student violence. But now a local support network called the Mindful Teacher Project offers an antidote to alienation and a way for teachers to relieve stress. In short, the project proposes that what teachers really need is a chance to take a long, deep breath.

Led by the project’s founders – Boston College professor Dennis Shirley and Elizabeth MacDonald, a literacy coach in the Boston Public Schools – 18 of the city’s public school teachers meet once a month at Boston College to share stories, offer collegial support, and practice guided meditation. The project may be off the map of orthodox reform strategies, but it’s been critical for the participants, several of whom were ready to leave the profession.

Shirley and MacDonald – who just released a book called The Mindful Teacher and hope its publication will lead to similar programs in other cities – say mindful teaching leads to better instruction. “Mindfulness should always take us back to the learners,” Shirley notes. “If we get distracted, we have to meditate, we have to come back to the kids.”

[via the Boston Globe]

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