New Mindfulness Program
This year, a new mindfulness program was introduced to the students and staff at Fairview by counselor Matt Mowen and biology teacher Becky Roetto. The program has not been exposed to many students in the classroom, but Mowen says it could be if teachers become more familiar with the practice.
“I’ve never really been in direct contact with the wellness thing,” said senior Kendall Webster.
Webster is among the many busy Fairview students who have not experienced mindfulness. Mindfulness was mainly introduced to ninth graders through their freshman seminar classes, and so older and even busier students have yet to be introduced to the relaxing practice
“Fairview is sometimes known as a pressure cooker,” said Mowen, “so the mindfulness program is a way to kind of address that.”
According to Roetto, mindfulness is a practice in which the participant learns to slow down and allow their brain to focus on one thing at once, instead of overwhelming themselves with too many different, stressful feelings and thoughts.
“This is one of the techniques that has been scientifically backed to show that it reduces stress and anxiety,” said Roetto.
The question is: Have these results been replicated among the staff and students here at Fairview? Unfortunately, the answer is no.
Although older students typically have not been introduced to the program because their teachers use it in the classroom, many believe that it would help with their stress level.
“I think [the mindfulness program] would definitely help with my stress level,” said senior Ashlyn Schultz. “When I do have homework, it’s really hard for me to focus on it because I’m overwhelmed with my feelings.”
The key to spreading mindfulness among these older students, as well as the younger ones, says Mowen, is to educate the teachers on the practice so that they know how to use it with their students.
“Our idea is, the more teachers that can get involved and want to do this, the more they’ll carry it out in the classroom,” said Mowen. “We’ve been having mindfulness moments in our faculty meetings,” he added.
Additionally, group called SMART (Stress Management And Relaxation Techniques) is teaching classes for Fairview staff about mindfulness in order for them to become more familiar with it, Mowen said.
“In this class, we’re going to further develop our mindfulness skills, and by doing so be able to use it with our students more effectively,” Mowen said. “Our idea is if we’ve got, like, thirty staff members doing [the SMART class], then they’re going to be mindful in their daily life, and that in turn will affect the students that they are working with.”
Mowen and Roetto’s hope is that, by educating staff members and having them use mindfulness with their students, the mindfulness program will expand and more students will be exposed to it.
“You have to live it to teach it,” said Roetto.