My name is Cindy Kaump. As an 8th grade English teacher, I constantly see students who feel stressed, worried, or unfocused. In January, members of MC4ME came to my district to help us bring mindfulness into the classroom. It was like two parts of my life were coming together, since I’ve been an educator for nine years, and practiced yoga for just as long. One of my favorite benefits of yoga has been the practice mindfulness. Mindfulness helps me not worry about things I can’t control, in my past, or in the future. I find my focus is better, and I’m a better listener because of my practice, so of course I thought I should teach mindfulness to my students!
Like any new routine, I first talked about it with my students, giving examples about how being mindful can help them in their life in and out of school. We did the first few mindfulness exercises before tests, with the context of focusing their mind and letting go of stress. After trying a few mindfulness practices, my students reflected on what seemed to help them the most. Some said they like to hold or fidget with something and focus their attention on that, while others like to move mindfully to settle their mind.
Going forward I’d like to incorporate mindfulness practices into my classroom more often. I want to provide my students with what they need in order to get into the right mindset for school, so I’ve created a Donors Choose project to help me create Mindfulness Kits for my classroom. In these kits, I hope will be materials that inspire students to be mindful and de-stress. I imagine students will take these kits into the hall or our team room to meditate or use any materials in the kit that speaks to them in the moment to help them feel ready to learn. I want my students to become more aware of their mindset, thoughts, and actions so they can recognize these inter-connections. Hopefully this will encourage them to create habits and take actions that make them feel good and let go of what makes them feel bad.