“When teachers get mindfulness training, students win {too!} ”  ~ Jill Suttie.

“Teaching mindfulness to youth of all ages & their teachers has the potential for mindful living to flourish within society, take a deep-seated hold, and give kindness and unity a chance to prevail over violence and divisiveness.”

Giving Tuesday 2018 mindfulness teachers students

Recap of our 2018 #GivingTuesday campaign: our goal is to provide mindfulness training for teachers in the Espanola Public schools – and sow the seeds of harmony.

Please help us raise $15K – 50% will go to RGMI … for 75 scholarships.

So what is the story behind Mindfulness and RGMI?

jon barnes san juan elementary espanola public schoolJon Barnes is a K-6 music teacher at San Juan Elementary School, which is part of the Espanola Public School District (EPS) that has 3885 students and 240 teachers. EPS is one of 89 districts in New Mexico – which has a total of 877 schools with 22+K teachers and 338+K students (PreK-12).

Jon, like most other teachers, typically manages to maintain a classroom environment which is reasonably balanced and calm.

San Juan Elementary Students

In the classroom, as in life, stressful situations arise, e.g., a student acting out, OR smartphone distractions, OR someone not paying attention, OR even hearing a gunshot.

There are numerous factors for these stressors because schools have increasingly challenging conditions.

Navigating this scenario can be tough for Jon, or any other teacher, because …

“… If you’re a teacher, you can’t walk out while you’re teaching; and if you’re a student, you can’t walk out, either—it puts a level of pressure on teachers that I don’t think many people recognize …” … and ….

“… emotional reactivity {interferes} with a teacher’s ability to be their best, and that the solution {isn’t} just a matter of teaching more skills, it {is} really a matter of teaching them to self-regulate so they could be their best,”

So, is it possible to train Jon, or any other teacher, in a manner that lets him (or them) cope better and manage difficult emotions?

Fortunately, Yes! … there’s increasing evidence that mindfulness training can:

“… help {teachers} cope better with stress on the job while also making the classroom environment more productive for learning …”

{improve teachers’} “… ability to manage anger and other difficult emotions, and lowered their psychological distress and sense of time urgency …” ~ all 4 quotes, above, from Jill Suttie

So here’s Jon after, completing a full day RGMI mindfulness training :

Note that he sees mindfulness “… as a catalyst for the students to become more self aware … & being quiet, … at peace … is kind of cool – even as a kid.”

Baby steps with huge implications!

Tackling the tough school conditions is daunting but mindfulness is a potential, and foundational, solution that allows both teachers and students to create a positive, reinforcing, self sustaining cycle of well-being.

So …

We want to raise money for training school teachers (and students) in mindfulness.

Our #GivingTuesday goal is to raise $15K – with 50% going to RGMI for the scholarships.

So far RGMI has trained 361 northern New Mexico teachers (& 57 teens) in 2018 (up from 25 teens/135 students in 2017). They believe their outreach has touched over 10,000 students on a daily basis in the area.

Their impact is best characterized by 95% graduates of the 2018 Heart of Teaching retreats : “The retreat offered practical strategies for supporting my personal mindfulness practice and how this is relevant to my work with students.” ~ RGMI

On a broader scale, the goal of teaching mindfulness to youth of all ages & their teachers has the potential for mindful living to flourish within society, take a deep-seated hold, and give kindness and unity a chance to prevail over violence and divisiveness.

Thank You for supporting Stillness Speaks’ mission to assist in the self discovery journey … which begins with mindfulness.

So, please … join us and contribute to fostering mindfulness in our children and educators … mark your calendars, spread the word, and stay tuned !

“Entering its seventh year, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.” ~ GivingTuesday

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Images:  1) Jon Barnes image is from RGMI archives used with their permission, 2) From San Juan Elementary School website.
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