Teachers have a million and one things going on at any given moment during the school day. It’s extremely hard to be present in the moment when you have a list of to dos and things to remember swirling around in your head. Despite all the potential distractions teachers face, being present in your classroom is extremely important for you and your students success.
When you’re present in your classroom, you’ll listen to your students better and feel more engaged with your class. It’ll help you feel more connected to your teaching and stay more relaxed throughout the day. You’ll probably notice that your students are more present in your class when you are as well, and more learning will take place. Studies show that being present and mindful helps teachers fight stress as well, and we all could use some stress relief.
Being present takes a lot of work. As you begin to practice this mindfulness of being present, you’ll have good days and days you forget to think about it at all. It’s normal to slip in and out of being present throughout the day. The more you work on it, the more natural it will feel.
Not sure where to start? There are tons of articles on being present and mindfulness, but here are a few simple tips for teachers.
- Focus on the positive and find gratitude for the good in that moment. Even when things might not be going exactly how you’d like in your classroom, there is something positive you can pick out. Find the student doing the right thing and acknowledge them and express your gratitude. Mean it truly when you say it aloud and not in a resentful way to other students. True gratitude will make you feel better and recognize the good in the present moment.
- Start your day focused on the present. A lot of people find it helpful to start their day with being mindful of the present. When you first wake up, try taking a few minutes to take in your environment. Listen, feel, and breathe. Realize how you feel in the moment, and don’t think about what you have to do after this moment. This practice will help you start your day off in a calm place, instead of worrying about the million things you have to do later.
- Breathe. A busy school day can cause you to forget to eat, use the restroom, or take a second to breathe. If you realize you that’s what your day is like then stop yourself and take a few deep breaths and focus only on breathing. You’ll feel more relaxed after breathing, and your relaxation will influence the atmosphere in your classroom. If your class comes in a little crazy, do breathing exercises with them to help refocus everyone and create a calmer environment.
- Make an effort to focus on the present. It takes practice and you’ll get distracted by the grades you need to enter after class or the calls you have to make, but when you find your mind wandering to things that are not in the present stop yourself. When you’re in class teaching, be present and appreciate those moments. Don’t check your emails while your class is working independently, but instead walk around and focus on what is happening around you. You’ll notice more like maybe a student struggling with the assignment or a student off task. You’ll be a better, more attentive teacher when you focus on the present.
- Stop rushing. When you rush around like a crazy person, you can’t be present. Being present means slowing down enough to appreciate and feel what it is like to be in the moment. The rushed feeling sets a chaotic feel to your day and classroom. Students will pickup on this and feed off the chaotic vibes. Slow down, and be okay with the moment as it is. You’ll feel a sense of control when you slow down, and more relaxed.