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Self-Compassion for Teachers

3 Credits
3 Credits

Teachers face unprecedented stress and demands in the current educational landscape. But, as the WestEd Center for Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety reported, in order to support others, educators must support themselves first. In fact, across helping professions generally, self-care is considered an ethical imperative (Pate, 2020). This research-based course provides K-12 teachers with hands-on experience with a vast array of self-compassion practices, applying these practices within their teaching role.

What is Self-Compassion?

Self-compassion involves telling yourself “This is really difficult right now,” how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment? Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect? The more you open your heart to this reality instead of constantly fighting against it, the more you will be able to feel compassion for yourself and all your fellow humans in the experience of life.

– Kristin Neff, Co-Founder of the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion

What You’ll Learn in this Course

In this course teachers will discover the self-compassion tools and best practices most effective for them and develop plans to model and facilitate similar practices for students and colleagues within their respective educational roles. Teachers struggling to include themselves in the circle of care they extend to students and their families, fellow teachers and their own loved ones will receive validation and encouragement from this course, while learning self-care practices that can be immediately implemented into their professional lives.

Course Topics

  • Importance and impact of self-compassion and self-renewal 
  • Myths, competitors and counterfeits of self-compassion 
  • Cultivating loving kindness for self and others in the classroom 
  • Applying self-compassion practices in the teacher role 
  • Applying self-compassion to managing difficult emotions in oneself and in the classroom 
  • Modeling and measuring progress of self-care as a teacher

This online professional development course is research based and will give K-12 teachers hands-on experience with a wide variety of self-compassion practices. Content will also help the educator apply these practices into their daily work. Content will be learned through a variety of assignments: 

  • Questionnaire/survey 
  • Group forums 
  • Reflections 
  • Research review 

NOTE: Required books must be acquired separately.

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Dr. MaryJo Burchard

I have taught for over 25 years in many settings, including kindergarten and business college in Japan, third and fourth grade and K-8 performing arts in a private Christian school, children's ministry in numerous churches, and leadership coursework on the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels. I still teach part-time in higher ed, but my primary focus now is helping organizations, teams, educators, and other leaders create humane environments amidst major disruption and recover from workplace trauma and disorienting change. I believe self-compassion, a sense of belonging, trust, and curiosity are human essentials for everyone – including those teaching and leading others.