Mindfulness is a central concept in what North Dakota United seeks to provide our members in our professional development course catalog. Online book studies and micro-credentials, Educator Ethics, retirement-preparedness seminars and, of course, our “Mindful You — Mindful Me” courses, all work together to provide opportunities, virtual and in-person, to nurture the professional skills that are inside all of our public employees.
And on March 27, we combine these approaches to offer Mindful You — Mindful Me training by mindfulness expert Heidi Demars, both online and in-person, at our NDU Bismarck office, for any North Dakotan educators, members or non-members, K-12, higher education, students and public employees!
This course is a continuation of the skills acquired through Mindful You — Mindful Me, Part 1, into the creation of a mindful classroom. Self-care is an essential part of the work of public educators and employees, and can contribute to a more positive work environment and better outcomes for students. This is a blended learning course using in-person sessions, online work and a book study. Completion of Mindful You — Mindful Me, Part 1, is not required.
Demars has her Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a minor in Nonprofit Leadership, as well as an Associate of Applied Science degree in Occupational Therapy. She first started practicing mindfulness and meditation in 2014, and found in its practice “a place of inner resourcefulness and true healing.” She is certified through Mindful Schools, and now shares what she has learned about mindfulness to “create more resilient, inclusive, empathetic and compassionate people and places.”
“I feel like once they can embody mindfulness and begin to practice that in little ways throughout their day, subtle changes start to show up over time,” Demars said. “I worked as an occupational therapist in the schools for many years, and I really recognized that kids needed some coping skills. But not only that, you have a school of maybe 500 students with maybe only one counselor. That’s a lot on their plate. I realized that if teachers can have some of these coping skills and practices to share with their students, that it’d just be a win-win.”
The course will run March 27, from 4–7 p.m., and April 10, also 4– 7 p.m., followed by an online discussion component. Once you register, instructions for logging into the virtual class will be e-mailed to you. Bismarck-Mandan area participants can attend in-person at the North Dakota United building, at 301 N Fourth St. in downtown Bismarck, if they choose.
Demars was a guest on The Cutting Ed podcast early in Season 2, and she shared some tips for listeners on the value of being mindful in the classroom and at work. “I think it needs to be easy, practical and accessible,” Demars said. “So for me, when I started my daily practice, I would just start out in the morning with five minutes, and I would listen to a guided practice. Sitting in silence, for me, was pretty challenging at first. But what we’re doing is we’re giving our attention a place to rest.”
This course is available for 1 graduate credit through the University of North Dakota.
For more information about Mindfulness, visit mindfulyoumindfulme.org
Thanks to the Great Public Schools grant from the National Education Association, all professional development courses are discounted for North Dakota United members through June 1, 2019.