• Mindfulness for educators: fostering awareness and resilience in the classroom

      Bursiel, Morgan R.; Vinlove, Amy; Healy, Joanne; McIntosh, Susan (2014-08)
      Teaching in the public schools is demanding work, and addressing teacher stress in the classroom remains a significant challenge in education. Increasing numbers of children come to school unprepared and often at risk of mental health and behavioral concerns, yet teachers are expected to provide emotionally responsive support to all students, manage larger classroom sizes, and meet the growing academic demands imposed by standardized testing. Despite these high expectations, teachers rarely receive training to address and skillfully handle the social-emotional challenges of their profession. A current examination of teacher educational and in-service professional development activities indicates that little professional development specifically targets these competencies. Over the last decade, mindfulness--the intentional cultivation of focused attention and awareness--has grown from its initial western applications in medicine to other disciplines, including education. Studies have shown that even a few weeks of practicing mindfulness can bring a variety of physical, emotional, and social benefits to teachers and students alike. This project aims to introduce mindfulness training to teachers to bolster positive qualities of mind and enhance responsive, compassionate teaching.
    • Stress reduction support for new teachers in rural Alaska

      Wray, Tapiana; Renes, Susan L.; Topkok, Sean A.; Morton, James (2018-05)
      Teachers experience many different facets of stress that directly affect attrition and burnout in the profession. While the research on teacher retention and attrition in Arctic Alaska is limited, that does not diminish the impact felt by the students, the community, and the state. Teacher attrition and retention is a multidimensional issue that could benefit from an intervention created on behalf of administrators, communities, and the teachers themselves. This paper presents one approach to address teacher retention: teachers and administrators incorporating stress reduction techniques into their lives have been proven successful in reducing teacher stress to mitigate teacher burnout.