Mindfulness for NQTs: Mindful/ Compassionate listening

by Alison Laycock


Everyone wants and needs to be heard and we all deserve it too. We also need to be seen and heard for who we are and how we are rather than others making their assumptions about us or what will help us. Teaching can often feel a lonely experience despite there being many bodies in a classroom, this is often magnified in the NQT year depending on how many other NQTs there are, what the support is like in school and also how you feel you are performing compared with others (don’t compare) and also against your goals/ intentions (be kind to yourself).


Some are lucky and find themselves in a school where their Head of department or person in charge of NQTs’ CPD and assessments are good listeners, offer time and can aid your development at the same time as your self-esteem. Often, this is not the case for a number of reasons we don’t need to go into here.


So, find yourself someone who will offer you that compassionate listening. Someone who will sit and listen to you without rushing to speak or offer their opinion, someone who will hear you, what you are saying and how you are really feeling rather than them rushing in with how they believe you are feeling or how they felt in the same situation. Someone who will support you and also challenge you when necessary but will above all give you a safe space to go to to be heard.


As well as having that person/ people and especially if you don’t, I am a strong believer in being that person for yourself. Throughout my teaching career and travel experiences, I have been the compassionate listener for myself and that comes from self-awareness and knowing who you are, how you are, what you need in the moment and being able and willing to give it to yourself. This type of listening is essential in the classroom and also if listening to other people’s opinions as you will know when you have done the best you can and when you can do better.


With students: Just as we need to be listened to as adults, so do our students. This is the case any time but will especially be the case as they return to whatever the situation is at school and from whatever type of lockdown they will have experienced. No experience will have been the same for 2 students even if they are siblings and spent it in the same house. As a new teacher in the school, you will have an important part to play as you will not know them from before the lockdown started so you can completely see them as they are now with nothing to compare them to. As well as listening to them, compassionate listening comes from seeing the whole person before you so notice all you can about your students so you can easily pick up on when something is wrong with them.


This can also be encouraged within the classroom and between students through you as the teacher modelling it and also arranging time for it to take place or activities to encourage it.


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 info@beingthebestyoucanbe.org


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 http://www.beingthebestyoucanbe.org


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