Resilience and Mindfulness

Life happens everyday, and how we respond to it, ultimately shapes who we are as individuals. One important lesson I have learned in life is to forgive myself and others, to allow room for mistakes and keep moving forward. In the article, “What I Wish My Professors Had Told Me” the author discusses how to be resilient as a teacher. It includes keeping in mind the positive, while reminding yourself of your purpose as an educator, which is to guide students towards learning and thinking for themselves. I especially liked her reminder that no one is perfect, and being flexible with your lessons and your class is important. I certainly have a tendency to beat myself up when I believe that I have made a mistake, dwelling on what I should have done. I hope to create a classroom environment that is organized but flexible with plenty of room for making mistakes and learning how to move on from them. I especially want to equip my students with tools to help them manage their lives outside my classroom.

A great book for self-assessment in the area of emotional resilience and how we relate to our environment is  The Emotional Life of the Brain  by Richard Davidson. Davidson studies how our emotions and thoughts physically affect our brains. It’s really fascinating, and it correlates with the ideas in this article about staying positive, letting the negative stuff just roll off, and focusing on what is important and actually happening here and now.

The second article, “Let Care Shine Through” was a great reminder to be truly interested in the lives of students, to know what’s going on with them, and to give them tools to manage their lives. I think it’s really important to hold students to a standard of behavior and work, to teach them how to be organized and to meet them where they are at with reading or writing or whatever. If a teacher can learn to be creative and bring a lot of hands-on and applicable learning into the classroom, as well as supplemental reading at different levels, I think it becomes a more inclusive classroom. Probably the most important thing a teacher can do to help students and to know how to engage them in learning, is to get to know who they are and what is going on with them. I love the idea of personal surveys and simple silly questions that let you know who the students are and where their interests lie. I also thought it was creative and wonderful to help the student who was writing a nasty note, communicate in a more positive and beneficial way instead of just punishing or reprimanding her. It is so important to look beyond the obvious.

The link that I have posted correlates with both of these articles as well as the idea of mindfulness meditation which Richard Davidson is a major proponent of. The article is written by an educator who practices mindfulness in his classroom to help center students and also to teach them to be aware of their emotions and how to regulate them. I would love to incorporate this into my classroom. I often see students who are just filled with negative or confusing emotions and have no idea how to manage or deal with them. This is a great practice that will help them to be aware of what they are feeling and doing, and give them one way to deal with it positively.