Heading 1NDMTSS Conference
Teachers have always needed to know and practice protective strategies in their social emotional first aid kits to manage the daily stressors of working on the front lines of a human-service oriented profession. That need has never been greater given the massive increase in uncertainty and unpredictability in the teaching profession and in one's personal life due to COVID.
In short, teaching is emotional labor-- the effort required to manage and metabolize strong emotions like anger, shame, guilt, anxiety, and overwhelm, as well as generate and stoke positive emotions like joy, hope, and compassion.
Stress significantly diminishes a teacher's capacity to regulate their negative emotions and cultivate positive emotions. Ironically, teachers who leave the profession often cite their inability to cope with their own emotional reactions to loss of control, unpredictability, and lack of purpose in their teaching as the primary reason for burnout.
There are many, many strategies and practices rooted in cognitive and affective neuroscience and social and behavioral sciences that teachers can learn, practice, and integrate into their personal and professional lives as teachers to metabolize stress, manage negative energy, protect themselves from the burnout cycle, and find joy in teaching the whole year through!
In this session, teachers will:
Explore the core elements of the teacher burnout cycle and learn how to protect one's self from the 2 paths to burning out,
Regular mindful awareness practice changes how your body and brain respond to stress, strengthening brain connections to reduce reactivity, while supporting self-reflection and self-regulation.
The development of attention through mindfulness meditative exercises is a crucial aspect of inner balance.
Mindfulness helps you regulate your internal state, including your immune system, your emotions, your attention, and even your interpersonal interactions.
is a powerful position statement of your beliefs, values, and desires.
brings your core priorities into focus and creates a map of value-based actions to enact those priorities.
connects you with your peers as you align your core beliefs, values, and desires with that of the collective.
helps you find your way to back top your well-being base when you feel lost or distracted.
channels your attention, intentions, and positive attitude into action.
VALUE-BASED ACTION STEPS
Values are not goals; they are guiding principles and ways of being that help you to ground your present moment experience in your chosen behaviors.
Skim the list below. Write dow your top 5 core values (as a teacher) on a sticky note.
Now... on a piece of paper, write out a series of "power position statements" under each category.
Re-Story & Resist
Here's an example: "I refuse to believe that I must sacrifice my mental health, personal life, and well-being to be a good teacher."
Try these sentence starters: I refuse to believe.... I resist the belief that....
Personal Needs, Wants, Desires
Now it is time to use the power of your imagination to make commitments to how you want to live your life and your teaching from moment to moment. Take some time to visualize how you want to FEEL most days of your teaching. This is what you not only desire, but what you desire. If you can imagine it, it can then become real.
Here's an example: "I am a resilient person who deserves to feel good."
Try these sentence starters: I am....I deserve....I will.....I need....I have...
For our purposes, a virtue is defined as that state of being (see list below) that you stoke or cultivate in moments when you are tempted to do the opposite action the virtue.
For example, when your students are not following directions, and you begin to get agitated with their behavior you have a choice on how you are being; you could be patient or you could be impatient. PATIENCE is the virtue that is cultivated in the midst of the presence of impatience.
On a sticky note, write out your top 3 virtues you desire to stoke IN THE MIDDLE of the inevitable stressors of teaching. It is often only INSIDE the stressor that we can choose the virtue we DESIRE to embody that is in alignment with our core values.
Value-Based Action is making intentional commitments of self-care that are based on your core values. This way, your action is aligned with your truth. Acting in alignment with your values protects you from moral injury (profound sense of disconnect from yourself and your purpose as a teacher) and emotional exhaustion in teaching.
Value-Based Action fosters flexibility, awareness, self-regulation, optimism, and connection to self and others. VBA helps us to respond vs react to situations by perceiving, thinking, and feeling that aligns with our personal values.
Let's keep using the power of your imagination to visualize what committed action toward your physical, mental, and spiritual health LOOKS like. This is where all the inner work of establishing your BELIEFS, VALUES, and VIRTUES get enacted and lived out. You need both INTENTION (inner work) and ACTION (external doing in alignment with inner work) to bring about your optimal well-being.
Value-Based Action COMMITMENTS
Because I believe (restate belief here) , and I know how much my physical well-being is connected to my mental and emotional health , I commit to the following:
Because I believe (restate belief here) , and I know how much my mental health is connected to my spiritual immunity and physical well-being (because I know that stress reactions create surges of cortisol and adrenaline in my body which, overtime, corrodes my body's natural immunity), I commit to the following:
Because I believe (restate belief here) , and I know how much my desires, likes, needs, and wants are critical to me feeling connected, whole, happy, and rejuvenated, I commit to the following: