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Mindfulness for NQTs: Breathe

by Alison Laycock

During your NQT year, there will be many times when you will wonder how you are fitting everything in and will often have to stop to catch your breath. So, how about building in breathing techniques and acknowledging the uses of breathing and the need for it in many situations before even starting? It may seem silly to think about breathing when we do it so naturally and of course we already know the importance of it, however apart from keeping us alive in the main sense, focussing on the breath can save us in other situations too.

Notice the breath: Our breath always takes us to the present moment and this can be used on its own or with other practices. We are able to see ourselves in that breath and who we are, notice it, accept it and move to the next moment. Our breath tells us how we are, so focussing on it may tell us we are angry, sad, anxious or other.

Take time to breathe: As I’ve said above, our breath can save us in many situations. Taking a breath to give us time to respond is essential in teaching whether it be in conversation with our colleagues, speaking with a parent or interacting with a student. In that breath, we take time to consider our response and that can help us maintain our equilibrium in all moments. In taking the breath, we may decide not to respond, it may give us time to find the right words or simply to time to take a much needed breath.

Reset with the breath: As you move around the school or between lessons or groups of students, use the breath to reset. As you leave your classroom, take 3 deep breaths to reset or in between lessons take time to breathe slowly or deeply with how many breaths feel right for you. Then enter the next moment mindfully and in control of your voice.

Focus on the breath: This allows us to have a natural break even when one doesn’t seem obvious so on a day when you have no free periods or have added break or lunchtime duties. I’ve often used this during a break or lunch time when I’ve taken 5 minutes away from others to simply focus on my breath and when my mind wandered to thoughts of the previous or following lessons or other thoughts, then I’ve gently brought my focus back to my breath. This has been a welcome break which has refreshed me and helped me find the energy for the coming lessons and students.

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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