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While engaging a parent in the habit of mindful living could positively impact their immediate family, enrolling a teacher has the potential of helping thousands of children they come in contact with throughout their career. Given our charter to create scalable strategies, we are focusing on teachers, primarily in terms of their self-care; to reduce burnout and increase their compassion and awareness. Once a teacher “gets it” personally, embodying the state of being mindful, the classroom environment changes and this creates the space for something magical to happen.
The statistics about disengagement in teachers is alarming: 80% of teachers report feeling disengaged in the first three years, with 50% quitting the profession after 5 years. (Gallup U.S. Daily) While we are worried about this trend, the real concern is about trusting our children to those teachers who don’t end up quitting, but are mostly disengaged. How can we trust the future of our nation in the hands of disengaged teachers?
Most teachers are givers: they give all day long and then go home and serve their families. Then they come back to school the next day, just to do it over and over again – all without any self-care.
Almost all in-service training and other teacher development programs are geared towards helping students, with none focused on helping the teachers. Unless and until we help teachers with avenues to refuel themselves, we cannot expect a sustainable solution. There is much talk about ‘Pay for Teachers’, but we believe the key issue is an awareness of the importance of self-care for teachers – a community bestowed with the responsibility of inspiring and teaching our future generations.
We launched our Teachers in Mind campaign in Washington, DC, and Wichita, Kansas, in September 2014. Through these events, there was a critical shift in perception among the teachers who participated in the training, as they began to realize that this was something primarily for their personal welfare, rather than something that they needed to learn to take back to the classroom for their students.
We evaluate program providers who offer training for teachers with a strong emphasis on self-care. We help them reach interested school systems and educators by identifying supporting structures and organizations, and with fundraising.
Our goal is to help create a number of master facilitators across the country who can support local school systems and teachers with tools and techniques to counter the forces that eventually lead to burn out.
While we are doing so much with so little, it does take the support of key partners and visionary donors in communities across the country to help scale this movement and truly realize a Mindful Nation. Please commit to supporting our programs today with your financial contribution and your energy – and be the spark that transforms our nation.
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