CCSD teachers, administrators, and staff take time out for mindfulness and rejuvenation
This year, teachers, administrators, and support staff throughout the district are taking a little “time out” to learn new hobbies and mentally recharge. Time Out for Me classes, which are coordinated by Debbie Rees, the district’s Project Aware Grant Manager and Social-Emotional Learning Coordinator, started up in December of 2021 and have seen great success. The classes, which are mostly free or offered with a small fee for participants, are intended to help teachers destress, let worries go, and focus on learning new skills. Some of the courses offered so far include beekeeping, a variety of cooking classes, ceramics, watercolor painting, rock climbing, and fly fishing.
Rees begins each class with a mindfulness practice, encouraging participants to let the day go and be kind to themselves. This helps prepare participants to relax and focus on being present in the moment. “All day long in our adult lives, we are asked to give and give, and teachers give their love and patience all day long to other people and take care of other people, but they are not taking care of themselves,” Rees explained. “You’ve got to start way upstream to maintain good mental health. That is what these classes do.”
In addition to the Time Out for Me classes, Rees sends out a weekly mindfulness email to all CCSD employees. The “Mindfulness Minutes” email includes mindfulness practices, daily calm strategies, and information about mental health resources. The email originally began as a resource for teachers to help their students and themselves as everyone adjusted to the pandemic. After receiving a lot of positive feedback, Rees started incorporating Social Emotional Learning (SEL) into the weekly emails. The intent is that the activities and small reminders presented in the emails will continue to have a snowball effect and give teachers the tools they need to help students manage their mental health.