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Mindfulness for NQTs: Be present

by Alison Laycock

There is always a lot for teachers to consider throughout the day and that is no different for someone starting their teaching career or teachers with years of experience, our minds are always active and so are we. In some ways, in a lesson we are more present than we will ever be in and around the school and yet, there are still times when we are not. This tip to be present is therefore essential to getting the most out of each lesson, each moment and each interaction with students, colleagues and parents.

As much as being present is important in the classroom and school, I am also encouraging you in this post to be present in every moment outside of your work too so please take these tips into all aspects of your life to reap all the benefits you can.

When we go from one lesson to the next, it is easy to keep thoughts of the previous lesson, the content, the interactions with students and any issues in our minds and we can take all of that into the next lesson despite having different students or content to deliver. How about being completely present in the moment, interacting with each student when the opportunity arises and accepting and acknowledging the good parts of the lesson and the areas for improvement as and when they happen. This will free you up for the next lesson as you don’t need to carry anything in to the next hour. You will also get the most out of those lessons and dare I say enjoy it so much more.

The register: Some like to rush through the register or do it without even calling out the names but for me it was the perfect tool. In calling out the student’s name, it was our perfect moment to interact with one another, share a smile and simply acknowledge each other. For the quieter ones or those who didn’t wish to volunteer many answers in a MFL lesson, this gave us both a chance to check out their understanding too. I would build in a task so as students answered to their name, they could give a sentence in the target language from their homework and would receive feedback immediately. In that exchange, both teacher and student are fully present and even better, they are fully present with each other. That gave me the opportunity to check in on them, look them in the eye to acknowledge them and also to check how they were. Did they look tired, engaged, fed up etc?

Being fully present in each moment shows how you are enjoying the lesson and that is often contagious so you can quickly engage the students in their learning too. Notice all there is to notice, feel it and acknowledge it. You will also remember so much more afterwards when you do your self-reflection and hopefully you’ll also retain how many positives there were.

As well as modelling this to your students, you can also encourage them to do the same.

They can be fully engaged in your lesson rather than thinking of the previous lesson or a future test coming up in the day. If they are secondary age and have been taught by another teacher in the previous hour, it makes sure they come to you fresh from any resentments they may still hold on to and can accept that this is a different subject and different teacher.

This can also be built into the lesson by taking them outside where they can be encouraged to notice all they see, all they can hear, what can they touch and to notice how they feel.

They can be aware of their movements and be fully present in all those moments rather than worrying about or thinking about the next part of the day in or outside of school.

There will many other ways for you to be present and I encourage you to find them in your daily lives and why not discuss that process with students too when you are with them. I wonder what they have noticed during their time of staying safe at home over the past few months.

Every day throughout August, these tips will be shared across social media so I’m including my links here. Throughout August, I’m offering meditation/ mindfulness sessions for NQTS/teachers and school staff on 4th, 11th, 18th and 20th August at 7-7.45pm via ZOOM. If interested, please email Alison at

Follow me across social media if you aren’t already to have access to the tips every day:

Facebook: Being the Best You Can Be

Twitter: @alisonlaycock23

LinkedIn: Alison Laycock

You Tube channel: Being the Best You Can Be

I’m also offering 25% off all courses for NQTs who wish to develop their mindfulness and compassion skills and resources more. The courses on offer are the 8 week MBSR programme with sessions lasting 120 mins and there are also 6 week Mindfulness and Compassion courses which last 60 mins each session. If you prefer workshops rather than courses then these are also available and can be checked out and booked via

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