In this article, learn more about:
- What courses or trainings are required prior to enrollment in Mindful Teacher? (Prerequisites)
- Must I have completed the prerequisites in order to apply to the program?
- What does a typical week look like?
- Will I have access to the teachers for questions and support? How does that work?
- How does this online program support connections with participants?
- Is there additional support for participants who identify as BIPOC or LGBTQ+?
- Are there activities or calls that are mandatory for me to attend live?
- Are assignments suggestions or required for program completion?
- Can I complete the course without attending the retreats?
- What will the Opening virtual retreat look like?
- In what contexts am I able to teach the Mindful Schools Curriculum?
- Is this program still applicable for educators teaching online? Has the Mindful Teacher program been updated to meet the needs of teachers in remote or hybrid learning environments?
- How does the Mindful Teacher Certification Program (MTCP) differ from the Schoolwide Implementation Program (SWIP) and from taking all five of the other Mindful Schools online courses?
- Do I need to be a classroom teacher to participate in the Mindful Teacher program?
- Will I need to purchase additional materials?
- Is everything online, with the exception of the residential* retreats?
- What are the requirements for course completion?
- Is completing the year-long program sufficient for certification?
- What are the requirements for "Certification"?
- Will I automatically be certified?
- What does achieving certification qualify me to do?
- How are graduate credits granted for the program? How many Educator Graduate Level Credits are available for completing this program?
What courses or training are required prior to enrollment in Mindful Teacher?
If you are new to Mindful Schools, our core courses, 101: Mindfulness Foundations and 201: Mindfulness in the Classroom, are mandatory prerequisites for our Mindful Teacher program.
Prerequisites must be completed by June 2021. The last course sessions of both 101 and 201 that will meet this deadline are:
101: Mindfulness Foundations - March 2021 (March 4th through March 31st)
201: Mindfulness in the Classroom - April 2021 (April 15th through June 9th)
If you have completed our previous courses, Mindfulness Fundamentals and Mindful Educator Essentials, 201T: Mindfulness in the Classroom (Abridged) will be required to ensure that you are in sync with the updated materials and the Mindful Schools Way of teaching mindfulness.
Must I have completed the prerequisites in order to apply to the program?
No, you do not need to have completed the prerequisites in order to apply for Mindful Teacher.
However, if you are new to mindfulness, we strongly suggest that you complete our 101: Mindfulness Foundations course before submitting an application, as the application will require you to discuss your already-established regular mindfulness practice.
All prerequisites must be completed by June 2021, prior to the start of the Mindful Teacher program and Opening retreat. If you have not completed your prerequisites prior to applying, please list your anticipated date of completion of the course(s) you have not yet completed.
What does a typical week look like?
The goal of the Mindful Teacher Certification Program is to support both the deepening of your personal practice and the deepening of your practice of teaching mindfulness and teaching mindfully. The program unfolds in monthly modules, so no two consecutive weeks are quite the same. That said, in most weeks you can expect video content to watch (either recorded videos or a live call) in a addition to short readings. During each module, you will be asked to experiment and try something new in your teaching and share short written reflections.
Recognizing the important of our personal practice to our embodied teaching, we ask participants to commit to a daily sitting practice of at least 20-minutes per day throughout the year.
Will I have access to the teachers for questions and support? How does that work?
Our teaching faculty loves to answer questions! The entire program benefits from the questions that participants raise, as they are rooted in real life, so we encourage participants to bring as many questions as possible to the group-while on retreat, in our online classroom, and during live calls.
Every participant is assigned a Guiding Teacher for the year. Guiding Teachers facilitate your small group cohort, and they will be your primary contact person for most questions during the year. They will know you best and will be your first source of knowledge and support for all questions during the program. In addition, our full faculty-including the Lead Teachers, who are responsible for the design of the course, and also the full faculty of all Guiding Teacher-are available on the various live calls (webinars, personal practice support calls, and teaching workshops). There are live calls in every module, so there is always a chance to talk though your questions.
How does this online program support connections with participants?
Community and connection are two of the core values of the Mindful Schools organization and of the Mindful Teacher program. This is why we begin and end the program with intensive residential* retreats, which "bookend" your year of study. In addition, we host many live calls in each module, where participants have the chance to ask questions and discuss course material in small groups. The small cohort groups that meet once per month together are designed to foster relationships and a supportive personal connection among the participants. Finally, participants are paired with a practice buddy who they meet with at least once per module to support their own personal practice as well as for opportunities to practice guiding meditation.
While we might not be in the same room, time zone, or country, participants relate feeling close bonds with their fellow participants, often reporting a delight at finding a community of like-minded educators who are doing the same work. We often have cohorts of participants who form such a close bond over the year that they continue to meet together, beyond the completion of the course.
*Due to COVID-19, the in-person residential retreats may be virtual online retreat experiences.
Is there additional support for participants who identify as BIPOC or LGBTQ+?
Recognizing that Western, secular mindfulness spaces (and our Western culture more broadly) tend to be read as straight, cisgender, and white spaces, we want to acknowledge that the experience of non-white, non-straight, and non-cisgender participants may differ from other participants. For this reason, we hold space for an affinity group for participants who self-identify as people of color or non-white, as well as an affinity group for participants who self-identify as LGBTQ+.
Are there activities or calls that are mandatory for me to attend live?
We record most live calls, because we recognize that we have participants in many different time zones and with many different schedules. While our calls are intended to be interactive and offer participants the chance to ask questions and discuss material in small groups, much of the experience can be gained from watching the recording. The only exception to this is your monthly Cohort Group Call - this is the one call which is not recorded and at which live attendance is mandatory.
Cohort Group Call: Once a month, your small cohort group-approximately 8 participants and your Guiding Teacher-have live calls. Group discussion, feedback, and support is an integral part of these calls. These calls are not recorded, and live attendance is mandatory. You will self-select into cohorts at the Opening Retreat and will be able to choose a cohort that meets at an available time for your schedule.
Are assignments suggestions or required for program completion?
In order to qualify for Course Completion status, participants must complete all assignments in the program. Because we know people have different needs and different teaching situations, participants are always given a choice of several different assignments from which to choose. In each module, there are required assignments where you are asked to read or watch videos, an application assignment where we ask you to try something new in your teaching, and either one or two written reflection assignments.
Can I complete the course without attending the retreats?
No. Full and complete attendance at both the Opening and Closing Retreats is a required and critical component of this program. You will not be able to participate in the Mindful Teacher program if you are not able to fully attend the Opening Retreat and will not be considered a Graduate of the program if you are not able to fully attend the Closing Retreat.
What will the Opening virtual retreat look like?
We are aware that we all have very different work. life, and family obligations. Knowing that, we will be offering several different ways that you will be able to engage during the retreat and we will be providing a number of different suggested practice schedules that honor people's differing availability.
The virtual retreat will be a mix of synchronous and asynchronous content. The first portion of the retreat will be a Practice Period (first half), during which we will offer a mixture of live guided practices, live Q&A sessions, talks from teachers, and pre-recorded guided practices.
You'll note we say "practice" period rather than "silent" period, acknowledging that you and your life may not be silent. But rather than thinking about retreating away from life, this at-home retreat offers us the chance to bring greater awareness to our daily living.
The second portion of the retreat will be a Workshop Period, during which we will hold virtual workshops & discussions as well as community building events.
In what contexts am I able to teach the Mindful Schools Curriculum?
Since one of the main goals of this program is to gain expertise teaching youth, practicing the actual teaching is extremely important. Each month, you will be asked to try something out and report back, and midway through the program, you will be asked to share video footage of your work with youth so that you can get feedback from your peers.
In the past, participants who don't work in a classroom or school setting have done one of a few things:
- Volunteered in a school, library, Boys and Girls club or other community group, offering the program at no charge as part of their training in exchange for the opportunity to work with a group of youth and gain experience.
- Taught to a group of students that they know outside of school-usually family members, friends, or neighbors.
It is less important who the kids are, so long as you have a group that you're genuinely able to work with regularly to deepen your teaching experience.
Is this program still applicable for educators teaching online? Has the Mindful Teacher program been updated to meet the needs of teachers in remote or hybrid learning environments?
We know that many teachers are currently navigating between distance, hybrid, and in-person learning. Our new K-12 Curriculum (to be released in early 2021) addresses remote teaching considerations, and our program has always been one that is responsive to the needs and lived teaching experiences of participants. Our content for the year will be applicable to teaching mindfulness both online and in-person.
This past year our Lead and Guiding Teachers have been exploring ways to teach mindfulness remotely in an embodied way. Our exploration has helped us develop strategies that are engaging and practical for teaching in remote and hybrid learning environments. This exploration will continue and we will create opportunities throughout our year together to share and crowdsource additional ideas for remote teaching.
How does the Mindful Teacher Certification Program (MTCP) differ from the Schoolwide Implementation Program (SWIP) and from taking all five of the other Mindful Schools courses?
The goal of MTCP is to support you in deepening your practice of teaching mindfulness and of teaching mindfully. MTCP focuses on supporting your individual development as a Mindful Teacher, while SWIP focuses on developing your capacity to take mindfulness to scale across a school or district or in your specific context.
MTCP is a significantly deeper dive into the concepts presented in the introductory online offerings, one which looks to integrate the various areas of learning (personal practice and professional teaching practice) presented in the other courses. This course offers an immersive, reflective process, which allows you to integrate your personal mindfulness practice and your teaching practice, all with the supportive and regular feedback of other members of both peers and faculty.
Within the program, we cover various topics that are relevant to the field of mindfulness in education. Some of these topics include: domains of mindful and embodied teaching, creating inclusive and safer learning spaces, neuroscience, attachment theory, trauma-sensitive and trauma-informed teaching, engaged mindfulness, and exploration of blind spots & implicit bias.
Our program is divided into monthly modules, and within each of these modules you can expect to see videos and readings for you to review, live calls (that are recorded if you cannot attend live) on both personal practice and on teaching mindfulness, opportunities to both practice the skills in your context and to write reflections about what you are learning, opportunities to connect within message boards with other participants, spaces to connect within Affinity Groups, and a monthly live call with your small cohort of participants.
Do I need to be a classroom teacher to participate in the Mindful Teacher program?
While it's helpful to have prior experience in schools or teaching youth in other settings (and you will be asked to be teaching the Mindful Schools curriculum during the program), you are not required to be a classroom teacher. Our program has served a wide array of participants across varying educational communities, including classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, school administrators, school counselors & mental health professionals, yoga teachers, parents, other outside providers & volunteers, and those switching careers. One of the exciting elements of the program is hearing the wide variety of perspectives that participants bring to this work.
Will I need to purchase additional materials?
There are no additional materials you need to purchase for the core content of the program. All participants will need to have access to the online classroom/internet access.
We do offer suggested books and resources we love, and many participants choose to purchase them for their personal library, but all required course readings & videos are provided through our online classroom.
Is everything online, with the exception of the residential* retreats?
Yes. Other than the Opening and Closing residential* retreats, our learning experience takes place in our online classroom through readings, forums, and videos, as well as live, interactive practice and workshop calls, Guest Speakers, and Cohort calls.
*Due to COVID-19, the in-person residential retreats may be virtual online retreat experiences.
What are the requirements for course completion?
This program has two stages of completion: (1) course completion (finishing the course itself), and (2) certification (becoming certified as a "Mindful Schools Certified Mindfulness Instructor," who is then eligible to be listed in our Certified Instructor Directory).
Course Completion: A participant who achieves course completion may say they are "a graduate of Mindful Schools' Mindful Teacher Program."
For MTCP course completion, participants must:
- Attend two residential* retreats, one at the beginning and one at the end of the program (live attendance is required)
- Complete all required online content, including readings, written reflection assignments, instructional videos and webinars (may attend live or view recording)
- Attend all monthly small-group cohort calls (live attendance is required)
- Complete all required readings and written reflection assignments
- Maintain a daily personal mindfulness practice of 20 minutes
- Complete the Teaching Lab requirements: submit a video teaching mindfulness to youth (in a classroom or other group setting) for feedback and provide feedback on peers' videos
*Due to COVID-19, the in-person residential retreats may be virtual online retreat experiences.
Is completing the year-long program sufficient for certification?
No. Completing the requirements above fully prepares participants to apply for Certification. Participants who have achieved successful course completion in the Mindful Teacher Program but have not completed the additional requirements of the "Certification Practicum" will not be listed in Mindful Schools' Certified Instructor Directory and cannot say they are a Mindful Schools Certified Mindfulness Instructor.
What are the requirements for "Certification"?
Certification Practicum: A participant who received teaching certification may say they are "a Mindful Schools Certified Mindfulness Instructor."
We begin preparing you for the Certification Practicum during the second half of the program with the Teaching Lab portion of the course.
After the course concludes, and participants have earned "Course Completion": participants can submit their Application for Certification Practicum for review. For teaching certification, participants must:
- Meet all requirements for Mindful Teacher course completion (listed above)
- Submit Application for Certification Practicum materials, including teaching video of one lesson from a full cycle of a mindfulness program, student and adult stakeholder program evaluations, and personal reflections
- Receive a positive evaluation and written offer of certification from the Certification Practicum Review Committee
Will I automatically be certified?
Neither participation in the Mindful Teacher program nor submission of practicum materials automatically guarantees certification. Certification is contingent upon a successful evaluation by our Certification Practicum Review Committee. A participant whose Certification Practicum does not yet demonstrate the requisite skills or qualities needed to embody and teach mindfulness to youth at an expert level may be asked to gain further experience and resubmit at a later time.
What does achieving certification qualify me to do?
If you become a Mindful Schools Certified Instructor, you will be qualified to:
Certification will allow you to refer to yourself as a Mindful Schools Certified Mindfulness Instructor (CMI), and guide basic mindfulness and compassion practices with youth in a school or the context of your chosen field of work. Specifically, as a Mindful Schools CMI, you ARE qualified to:
- Teach mindfulness to young people aligned with the Mindful Schools Way
- Use the Mindful Schools curriculum to create and adapt a mindfulness course to the needs of a specific school setting or content area (e.g. ongoing classroom instruction, science, health, PE, philosophy, supporting sports teams, etc.) and incorporate mindfulness instruction into other types of instruction or classroom routines (e.g. test-taking, counseling, circle time, advisory/homeroom, etc.)
- Lead introductory or informal sessions that define mindfulness, share the benefits of mindfulness in education, and share "taster" mindfulness practices with colleagues
At the end of this program, you will not be qualified to:
- Teach or certify other teachers to teach mindfulness
- Represent yourself as an employee of Mindful Schools or teach Mindful Schools courses (e.g. 101: Mindfulness Foundation, 201: Mindfulness in the Classroom)
- Offer advanced personal practice support or multi-day/residential practice-intensive retreats for adults
- Provide mindfulness-based therapeutic interventions (e.g. mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, trauma therapy, etc.)
How are graduate credits granted for the program? How many Educator Graduate Level Credits are available for completing this program?
You may apply for and receive Educator Graduate Level Credits after completing MTCP. Educator GLCs are offered through our partner organization, Courses 4 Teachers, an affiliate of University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA.
For MTCP you can register for up to 15 units/credits for the year. You can learn more about that process here.
Click here to apply for Mindful Teacher 2021-2022.