A mindfulness retreat for teachers took place in February this year at Sharpham House in Totnes. The retreat was called 'Sustaining our Teachers' and aimed to help teachers tackle stress and burn-out through practising mindfulness. The retreat was led two experienced mindfulness teachers, one of whom is Professor Katherine Weare who is joint Education Lead at The Mindfulness Initiative. 

Mindfulness is increasingly being introduced into classrooms for pupils but it is now being seen as useful to support their teachers too.  The teachers on the retreat practised mindful sitting, eating, and walking in the Devon countryside. Of course, some teachers will have attended other meditation and mindfulness retreats previously, but there seemed to be a real benefit from teachers being able to share their experiences in the knowledge that everyone present shared an understanding of them. 

"We were able to give practical solutions without having to wade through the illusion that teachers have an easy job with lots of lovely holidays. Instead, they were able to discuss Ofsted, low-level disruption and marking pressures with people who had a shared understanding of what that meant."

- Professor Katherine Weare.

Thanos Hartavellas, a teacher who took part in the retreat believes that investing in the mental wellbeing of teachers is vital:

“I think, as teachers, whatever we do to develop ourselves has an impact on the job we’re doing, so if we’re growing as human beings, this is bound to have an impact in the classroom. You can’t offer something you don’t have; by practising self-compassion, you develop resources that you can use afterwards.”

Professor Weare said that the feedback from the retreat was overwhelmingly positive. She hopes to run more retreats for teachers in the future and to invite senior leaders in the sector to attend as well as classroom teachers. 

Read more about the retreat in this article from the TES.