Mindfulness in Schools for Teachers

According to the Examiner in August- http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/crisis-faces-kirklees-schools-stressed-9823966, Kirklees is lurching towards a crisis in the classroom.

But I believe that Kirklees is not alone. More pressure on teachers to achieve very high targets, doing lesson planning and preparation at home, covering other absent teachers’ results in stress, illness,, low morale and more teachers leaving the profession.

Teachers’ Union NASUWT national 2015 Big Question survey of teachers:

  • 83% experienced more workplace stress in the last 12 months (80% in 2014)
  • 84% said their job has impacted negatively on their health and wellbeing (80%)
  • 68% seriously considered leaving the teaching profession (61%)
  • 67% say job has adversely impacted on their mental health (question not asked in 2014)
  • 48% have seen a doctor in the last 12 months as a result of work related physical or mental health problems (question not asked in 2014).

“Work-related stress has increased on teachers. There is more demand on experienced teachers who leave and are replaced by inexperienced teachers, and the balance goes. This has a knock-on effect; we have seen things like pupils behaviour become a problem. “Stress plays a part in staff absences. Ofsted is punitive and where schools have received a heavy-handed approach, people lose confidence when they feel threatened, rather than encouraged.”

Teachers may be challenged on a daily or weekly basis due to:-

  • Teaching pupils who lack motivation and/or maintaining discipline
  • Time pressures and workload and/or being evaluated by others
  • Coping with change and/or dealings with colleagues
  • Self-esteem and status
  • Administration and management
  • Role conflict and ambiguity and/or poor working conditions

So how can Focussed Mindfulness help?   We cannot change the targets etc but we can change how you respond to those challenging situations.   For example

The class isn’t paying attention so the teacher repeats themselves numerous times in order to get the students attention. This leads to the teacher feeling frustrated and could lead to a limiting belief of “it is impossible to teach the class”.   Now every time they enter the class the limiting belief will be there.

  • reductions in stress, improved ability to manage thoughts and behaviour, an increase in coping skills, motivation, planning and problem solving, and taking more time to relax.
  • better mental health including less distress, negative emotion, depression and anxiety.
  • greater wellbeing, including life satisfaction, self-confidence, self-efficacy, self-compassion and sense of personal growth.
  • increased kindness and compassion to others, including greater empathy, tolerance, forgiveness and patience, and less anger and hostility.
  • better physical health, including lower blood pressure, declines in cortisol (a stress hormone) and fewer reported physical health problems.
  • increased cognitive performance, including the ability to pay attention and focus, make decisions and respond flexibly to challenges.