I served in five Texas public schools as a 9th-12th English teacher for 14 years. If you told me my first year of teaching that I would experience trauma over and over again in my classroom, I would’ve told you I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and I could handle it.
Turns out, I can’t. No teacher truly can. Over the years, I constantly noticed how much I wanted to help my students and how little I often could. I experienced several incidents of trauma in my classroom, from threats of suicide to murder, and often carried home sadness, guilt, blame, anger, and helplessness. Each experience taught me I didn’t have the capacity to help my students process their emotions, much less my own. Some people say that’s a therapist’s job, but the truth is, we all need and deserve strategies to deal with difficult emotions 24/7.
Thankfully, I learned about mindfulness at SXSWEdu in 2017 and I remember feeling like I could breathe freely and deeply for the first time in years, no matter what stress was happening in my classroom or personal life.
I began practicing mindfulness on my own and teaching my students what I learned, and noticed a huge shift in my relationship not only with my students, but with my partner, my family and friends, and most importantly—myself. I began to understand the power of knowing I can’t control what happens, I can only control how I respond—one day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time.
I quit teaching in 2018 when I realized the Texas Education Agency doesn’t prioritize the mental health and well-being of students or teachers. Since then, I’ve earned my 200hr Hatha Yoga and Meditation Teacher Certification, Mindfulness Meditation Teaching Certification, participated in an Mindfulness Based Stressed Reduction (MBSR) training and completed a 125hr Mentorship in the Art of Holding Space.
In 2019, I created WorkStressLess LLC to teach others the life-changing benefits of mindfulness so they can feel more connected to themselves, the work they do, and the people they love. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share these incredible strategies with you!