Mindfulness for teachers

Practical tips to use mindfulness at work and home.
Abby Dale-Bates, Registered Psychologist


Mindfulness for Teachers



Education is fast paced, dynamic world where teachers are trusted with the job of helping students grow emotionally and intellectually. Given the responsibilities of being a teacher, mindfulness can be a valuable and beneficial skill to cultivate. When teachers integrate mindfulness into both their teaching and personal practices, benefits can be seen in overall wellbeing, resilience, and efficacy within the classroom; this can result in benefits for not only the teachers, but for the students they teach. 

Mindfulness is the practice of present-moment awareness which exists within a framework of openness, acceptance, and avoiding harm.  Rather tha reacting automatically and on impulse to external and internal experiences it encourages a considered, thoughtful approach to dealing with difficult emotions and environments.  When individuals practice mindfulness, they can cultivate a reflective mindset, allowing them to accept the presence of discomfort, analyze the problem openly, and explore different ways of thinking to reduce the occurrence of similar challenges in the future.(For further information on Mindfulness, please see our Mindfulness for the School Environment Blog) 


Why teacher mindfulness is important

When teachers embrace mindfulness as a practice, they can unlock numerous benefits which can enhance their ability to navigate classroom dynamics, address student challenges, and deliver effective education. 

Emotion regulation: 

  • Mindfulness practice can support teachers with regulating their emotions during times of stress. This practice can aid in the reduction of burnout, and improve overall physical and mental wellbeing. 
  • When faced with conflicts or challenges, teachers can learn to observe their thoughts and feelings without judgment or immediate reaction, allowing a thoughtful and pragmatic response, rather than one driven by impulse. 
  • When emotional responses are effectively managed they can be  effectively modelled. This promotes a calm and supportive classroom environment. 

Attention and focus:

  • When practicing present-moment skills, the ability to maintain attention increases. This can result in teachers being better able to engage with students, be fully present within the classroom, understand student needs, and provide individualized support.  

Teacher-student relationship:

  • Teachers who are better equipped to manage a positive classroom environment have a higher capacity for understanding the needs and emotions of their students. This results in proactive behaviours support, increased patience, and opportunity for teamwork/collaboration within the classroom. 
  • Mindfulness practice fosters empathy and compassion skills, which allows teachers to be emotionally present with their students, and respond with warmth, calmness, and acceptance. This encourages a sense of safety and trust for students to be vulnerable both emotionally and academically. 



Ways to practice mindfulness

Mindfulness can be incorporated into the day in the form of intentional practice during class time, or by weaving mindfulness into moments of personal wellbeing.    

  • Focussed listening: Active listening can be practiced by engaging in a deliberate observation of students’ verbal and nonverbal cues when they share their worries or experiences. Provide space for the student to express themselves, without interrupting. Maintain eye contact, and reflect back key information to confirm their experience. 
  • Practicing non-judgmental acceptance: This is done through reflection of our own beliefs, values, and judgements, observing how these may influence interactions with students, non-judgmentally accepting their presence, and practicing openness to allow for everyone to have their own experiences and perspectives. 
  • Self-reflection: Make time to reflect on teaching practices, emotional responses to students, and areas for growth. Find a comfortable space, free from distraction, and ask reflective questions such as “what did I do well today” or “what could I have done differently”. Remember to practice with a non-judgmental mindset, as self-reflection is a beneficial tool for growth, rather than one for self-criticism. 
  • Present-moment focus: Set aside a couple of minutes per day to practice. Find a quiet and comfortable spot, focus and slow your breath, notice sensations within your body; practice open observation. Allow thoughts to pass non-judgmentally, focussing on the present sensations of the moment. 
  • Informal mindfulness: During small daily tasks, practice paying attention to your senses, breathing and the present moment. This can be done when eating, walking, or doing other routine activities. 
  • Practice selfcare: Self-care is an important factor which supports individuals to recharge and engage in healthy work-life habits. (For further tips and information, please see our How to Self-Care blog).

The benefits of mindfulness can have the potential to positively impact the classroom environment, as well as the wellbeing of teachers and students. By practicing and developing mindful skills, teachers can foster their own emotion regulation skills, increase opportunities for compassion and empathy, and encouraging an environment of learning and trust. Teachers who practice mindfulness can utilise skills to model effective coping strategies and approaches classroom-wide for ongoing positive wellbeing outcomes. 




Braun, S. S., Roeser, R. W., & Mashburn, A. J. (2020). Results from a pre-post, uncontrolled pilot study of a mindfulness-based program for early elementary school teachers. Pilot and feasibility studies, 6(1), 1-12.

Jennings, P. A. (2015). Mindfulness for Teachers: Simple Skills for Peace and Productivity in the Classroom (The Norton Series on the Social Neuroscience of Education). United States: W. W. Norton. 

Jennings, P. (2015). Seven ways mindfulness can help teachers. Greater good magazine. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/seven_ways_mindfulness_can_help_teachers

Sanger, K. L., & Dorjee, D. (2015). Mindfulness Training for Adolescents: A 

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Tarrasch, R., Berger, R. & Grossman, D. Mindfulness and Compassion as Key Factors in Improving teacher’s Well Being. Mindfulness 11, 1049–1061 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-020-01304-x

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