Practicing Presence: Simple Self-Care Strategies for Teachers
By: Lisa J. Lucas
Book reviewed by: Krista Dickens
Educators~ are you feeling tired, wired and running in circles? You’re not alone. According to the Mindfulness in Schools Project (2014), teaching was ranked as the second most stressful profession, right behind ambulance driving. The epidemic of overworked, overextended and exhausted educators appears to be growing. The reality is that programs and curriculum don’t teach; educators teach. SST4 staff book of the month, Practicing Presence: Simple Self-Care Strategies for Teachers by Lisa K. Lucas focuses on supporting the variable that matters the most: the educator.
Educators spend more waking time with a child than most parents do. We need healthy, happy, well-rested educators to be positive role models of self-care for our students. We also need socially and emotionally competent educators to be present to support students to create a classroom climate that is conducive to learning. Practicing Presence can help educators address stress and focus on personal practices to support mindful teaching. This book is an easy and engaging read. Each chapter is organized by information regarding a specific topic (including but not limited to: practicing presence, responding rather than reacting, simple self-care, eliminating distractions, noticing negativity, collaboration verse conflict). It also includes very simple, yet specific strategies and resources for educators to use immediately. Each chapter wraps up with classroom connections which includes ideas, activities and resources to connect the content of the chapter to practices with your PreK- 12 grade students. This book will empower you by fueling you with information. However, it will be up to you to use it to live a more fully present, joyful life and reconnect with the reason you chose teaching.
Why I Recommend This Book:
Why this book? Conversations I have with educators about student behavior often begin with the educator…are they in a good place? Are they practicing self- care? If not, we know their classroom management can be compromised, the climate of the classroom can become less than optimal, they can demonstrate less empathy towards their students, have less tolerance for disruptive behavior and they themselves become emotionally exhausted and suffer burn-out. While in Chicago this Fall for the National PBIS Conference, I attended a session regarding resiliency of the caregiver. Practicing Presence was referenced throughout the session. I ordered it before the session was even over. I wanted it (even felt like I needed it) to support the work I do with educators. Surprisingly, I found myself absorbing the content personally and applying it immediately to my life. I have purchased the book as a gift for teachers in my life and want to encourage you to do the same…a gift to yourself or an educator in your life.
Throughout the month of January, we will tweet simple self- care strategies identified in this book @SSTRegion4 on Twitter. Kick off 2020 in a healthy and happy way: give the strategies a try, share them with others, retweet them or comment to let us know what you think. Happy New Year, from our SST4 family to yours!