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June 1, 2018
Vol. 75
No. 9

Relevant Reads / Improving Your Mindset—One Day at a Time

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    School Culture
      Dancing in the Rain: Leading with Compassion, Vitality, and Mindfulness in Education by Jerome T. Murphy (Harvard Education Press, 2016)
      Practicing Presence: Simple Self-Care Strategies for Teachers by Lisa J. Lucas (Stenhouse Publishers, 2018)
      We all know we need to be more mindful, take time for ourselves, prioritize and reflect. But how to do that often remains a mystery.
      In Dancing in the Rain by Jerome T. Murphy and Practicing Presence by Lisa J. Lucas, some of that how is demystified. Both books are brimming with advice, strategies, and reminders on how educators can live a more centered and balanced personal and professional life.
      With decades of experience in public schooling and government service, Murphy seeks to help education leaders manage "with compassion, vitality, and mindfulness." He outlines the MY DANCE strategy, seven tenets to overcoming the unique challenges of a leadership role. The seven steps, which range from attending to your values to expressing your feelings wisely, aim to help stressed leaders reflect on their core intentions and be more present in the moment.
      Being present is a key takeaway for Lucas as well. In Practicing Presence, she offers classroom teachers simple self-care strategies. Each chapter delves into one aspect of being more present—such as dismissing negative attitudes, working well with groups, or managing time—and provides simple ideas to try both personally and in the classroom.
      For example, Lucas suggests a great way to de-stress in the classroom is to incorporate a 30-second laugh with a silly video or play a quick game in between lessons. She recommends starting a gratitude journal or scheduling a mini-retreat each week to do something pleasurable. A robust list of resources in the back will help keep teachers motivated.
      Time is always a challenge for busy educators. We worry there's never enough of it, and that we are wasting the time we do have. Within the pages of these books are guides on how to spend your days in ways that are healthier, more fulfilling, and more fun—time well-spent, for sure.

      EL’s experienced team of writers and editors produces Educational Leadership magazine, an award-winning publication that reaches hundreds of thousands of K-12 educators and leaders each year. Our work directly supports the mission of ASCD: To empower educators to achieve excellence in learning, teaching, and leading so that every child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. 

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