TITLE: Correlation between a mindfulness meditation practice and stress reduction among teachers
Today, teachers face levels of stress that rival almost any profession. With the working conditions that include intense workloads, an emotionally charged day-to-day environment, and pressure to meet the needs of students, parents and administrators, it is no surprise that for many teachers these stressors eventually lead to burnout and a desire for a new profession. In order to curb the drastic rate that teachers are leaving the field, they must be equipped with the proper tools to respond to such stress. The aim of this research was to reveal any link between a mindfulness meditation practice by teachers and a decrease in their stress levels. Data was collected from seven educators involved in a group dedicated to developing a mindfulness meditation practice in teachers and eventually incorporating it into their classrooms with students. Each teacher was given a questionnaire regarding their meditation practice habits and their stress levels as well as how they felt these two were related. Findings from the study supported current research around mindfulness meditation and its benefits for teachers and non-teachers alike. Notably, teachers overwhelming stated their mindfulness practice as a significant factor in alleviating stress. Teachers experienced an increase in emotional and physical awareness in both themselves and in students. Furthermore, teachers described mindfulness as a contributor to improved relations with students by improving the ability to self-regulate during emotionally challenging encounters. Considering research backed support for the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation, the affordability, and the accessibility, this practice has significant potential in supporting our stressed-out and over worked fleet of teachers. An improvement of the working conditions and lives of teachers will undoubtedly have a cascading effect to our young people and our communities.
THESIS DEFENDED AND APPROVED: Fall 2018