Let’s face it: being a teacher can be stressful. There are a million things to do, and never enough time to do them. As a coach, I hope to lessen the stress of teachers, not add to it! This year, I plan to use mindfulness as a part of meetings and coaching cycles to lessen stress, increase engagement, and build empowerment. I know what you are thinking: how can I find the time to add one more thing to meetings that are already jam-packed?
Here are my top 5 tips for adding mindfulness to meetings:
- Mindful preparation. As you create an agenda, be aware of multiple perspectives and always be mindful of the wider system of the school. Approach the meeting with non-judgement, open-ness, curiosity, and compassion. Do not become overly attached to any one outcome.
- Do a breathing exercise at the beginning of the meeting. Use a Three-Minute Breathing Space exercise to acknowledge your current mental and emotional state, without judging yourself. Are you anxious? Fearful? Angry or irritated? Are you carrying some baggage from a previous meeting or conversation? Taking a few moments to breathe deeply will allow you to clear your mind and move forward, productively.
- Check-in with the group. Go around the table ask people to express how they are feeling, on this day, at this moment. This will help the meeting leader and participants be empathetic to how everyone is feeling and show compassion.
- Use a discussion protocol. Using a discussion protocol like Adaptive Schools, ensures that everyone asks questions for clarification before adding their own perspectives. This LiveBinder has many great resources to get you started. Meeting facilitators can also find great strategies in this Adaptive Schools Toolbox.
- End the meeting with intention. Take five minutes at the end of the meeting to intentionally create clear agreements about the who, what, when, and how of your next steps. Address how and when unresolved issues will be revisited. And, acknowledge anything that might get in the way of fulfilling agreements.Meetings will become much more productive and enjoyable by adding a bit of mindfulness. What are some ways that you practice mindfulness in meetings?