While this blog is meant to be very readable and developmentally tailored, there are some things that just can’t be directly taught through words. The following post is an experiential guide for Three Key Tips intended to facilitate your teaching skills, and hopefully increase their impact on your students.
- Hold compassion
- Speak authentically
Practice: The hardest part of being a teacher of mindfulness can be making time to practice it your self! Have you ever noticed yourself giving advice to a friend and then realized that you don’t even follow your own advice? If not, then you are well on your way to the Mindful path (hold tight till the next paragraph). If so, you’re not alone. It is easy to see from the outside just how good certain practices can be, but to really know them, we must actually practice them! Practice, practice, practice is NUMBER ONE of the Three Key Tips. After developing a consistent practice, you might find that the other tips flow naturally from this one. If you are, or plan to be, teaching your kids or students these practices, make sure to practice them first. This will give you a deeper understanding of what you are asking them to do, and will allow you to better understand how the practices make them feel in their own bodies and minds.
Hold Compassion: Compassion for oneself and one’s students is a necessary element of the teaching and practice of mindfulness. As a teacher, it is important to hold space for every student, regardless of where they are at that day, and to hold compassion for yourself as you teach them. Teaching these practices is not about perfection, or attainment of a specific outcome, but rather how you are able to make space for, and honor, whatever is present in the moment. Neither you, nor your students need to be able to sit perfectly or concentrate without falter every single day. The fact that you are practicing, or trying to practice, is all that matters. Focus will come in time.
Speak Authentically: Leading practices with an authentic voice will affect the way that both you and your students feel in the process. Allowing your own voice and personality to shine through gives you a means to connect with your students in a way that no robotic tone can. Have you ever been to a yoga class or listened to a guided meditation that you weren’t really “feeling,” or that may have seemed a little fake? When we try to be someone that we’re not, whether it is an idol or a robot, others pick up on it. Moral of the story here: don’t be afraid to be yourself. Quirks, jokes and mistakes make the process so much more relatable!
Wishing you the best of luck on your Mindful Journey!
-The ELSPAP team