Inside the mind of an online teacher
Updated: Apr 6
Thank you very much for taking the time and sending me such lovely comments after publishing my post Tips and Tricks of Teaching Online. When I was writing it, I had no clue that it would resonate with so many of you. So this has prompted me to create a follow-up post and let you take a closer glimpse into my world.
To begin with, some of you mentioned that you have been experiencing a lot of back and neck pains even though you have been teaching online only for a couple of weeks. So I decided to record a short video and show you some of the daily exercises I do to release the tension in my muscles.
Disclaimer…Please, bear in mind that my recommendations do not constitute medical advice and you should seek your doctor´s help if you have persistent pain in your back, shoulders and neck.
I am sure that you will agree with me that apart from our physical health, we should also take care of our mental wellbeing. I firmly believe that we need to make sure our light shines bright first in order to help our students find their power within.
Online teachers often feel lonely, trapped and disempowered. Yes, I can see you nodding your heads. I´ve been there…many times.
That is why feeling good and positive about life is something I am constantly working on. I had to say “Goodbye” to old beliefs and commit to growing my mind all the time. I stopped feeling trapped as soon as I realised how blessed I was to be able to travel daily to different countries and being allowed to “step into” my students´ home through technology. As one of my students said I get to enjoy “a free trip” every day.
For instance, today I “visited” Shanghai three times; I also “travelled” to Wenzhou (China), Scotland, a small Spanish town and my hometown in Bulgaria. That´s what I call “a true blessing”.
How about you? Pause for a minute and think about all the students you have taught today. What have you learned from them? What difference have you made in their lives? Remember, sometimes we can be the only RAINBOW in a student´s otherwise cloudy day.
What has really helped me on my journey of self-empowerment and teaching from home for so many years is applying the principles of mindfulness in my everyday life. In my opinion, our mental health is as important as our physical health so introducing mindful steps daily has benefited me in numerous ways:
The greatest power of mindfulness is that you stay in the present moment. Our mind naturally wanders in the past or the future (aka Default Mode Network) so by bringing your awareness to the NOW, you are able to concentrate better.
I usually meditate by focusing on my breath or engaging my senses. Here is my visualisation WAKE UP YOUR SENSES, which I use with my students and also in my daily life.
Being an active listener
We are teaching our students to listen carefully but are we attentive enough? Bringing in our problems/chores/ daily tasks into our lessons is common, but by practising mindful listening, you can more easily focus on your students. Have you tried it?
Being more productive
When I am relaxed, especially after doing a meditation or a few yoga poses, I tend to focus better, work faster and become more productive respectively.
Boosting my creativity
I am an early riser and love writing posts, visualisations, new lesson plans in the morning. I usually do a 10-15 min meditation which wakes up my body and creativity centre. It is in those quiet minutes when I can access more lightness and insight in the moment.
Being less reactive
There are always moments in class when a student/ the headteacher/ bad Internet connection could push our buttons. But by meditating regularly, you can decrease the size of your amygdala, which naturally “lights up” when we feel anxious, scared or stressed.
Becoming more self-aware and kinder to myself
When we are mindful, we can tune into our body and become more aware of our senses and emotions. Then we can heal ourselves by observing and acknowledging our feelings.
Stress and negative emotions weaken our immune system. So we need to make sure that we have released the tension in our body.
Boosting my self-confidence
I would never have been able to run my EMPOWERING STUDENTS workshop at EdYOUfest last year without working on my fears.
Feeling more grateful
Expressing your appreciation for the things and people in your life is one of the best ways to boost your happiness levels. So I use a gratitude app where I write about three positive things that have happened to me during the day and attach a photo as well. Especially now when we are all going through this interesting period, gratitude is one of the things that can help us focus on the things that have made us smile rather than frown.
Feeling an immense sense of awe every time I see the power of mindfulness tools in my English lessons
After realising how much my life and me as person and teacher have changed, I decided to take a Mindfulness course for educators where I could gain deeper knowledge and learn from fellow teachers. I consider that any teacher, no matter what subject they teach, should incorporate a few mindful minutes in their lesson. I have seen the transformation in my students and also how much my mindful lessons have helped them improve their English. Here are some of my blog posts where you can find some mindful lesson plans and learn more about my methods of teaching.
For me, Mindfulness is not a “buzz” word any more, it´s a way of living.
In my book "101 Activities to teach English mindfully" I share some of my students' favourite activities which help them stay focused, present and calm.
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Until we meet again, be blessed