Courtesy of Creative Commons
English teachers Jeffrey Savett and Samantha McEvoy have began department-wide meditation meetings, where they lead English teachers in guided meditation.
They meet in Savett’s classroom twice a week during the school day. The meetings began two weeks ago, and this is the first year either of the two have organized meditation for other teachers.
“Mr. Savett has been meditating for years and I started regularly meditating this past summer,” McEvoy said. “Earlier this year we had mentioned to each other that it would be nice to start something like this where teachers could go somewhere and take a moment for themselves during the busy school day, and Savett put that into action.”
Common forms of meditation include yoga, breathing exercises and guided meditation—which Savett and McEvoy have been using during meetings. In recent years, the ideas of taking the time to ‘be in the present moment’ and achieving ‘self-awareness’ through meditation have risen in popularity in several areas of pop culture and lifestyle.
“Because we have people who don’t really do it that often, so far we’ve started off with a lot of guided meditation,” Savett said. “Body scans are [also] a very typical thing that beginners start off with where you concentrate on different parts of your body and focus on your breathing as you do it.”
There are several apps that help one to conduct guided meditation by playing recorded instructions that lead meditation. While these can be used while alone, there is something different about sharing the experience with others.
“[It’s] just like when you work out with somebody,” Savett said. “Another benefit is that if we have set times when we [meditate], you may not be in the mood that day, but other people show up, so it makes you do it even though you might not want to in that moment, and those are often times that you need it.”
For the time being, these meetings have only been arranged within the English department. That could change, however. In a high pressure academic environment such as WCHS, meditation could provide a mental respite for staff members, as well as students who opt to practice it.
“Now that it has been a habit for a little over six months, I don’t feel composed if I don’t meditate,” McEvoy said. “I meditate because it allows me to take a moment for myself, to center myself and destress, and to gain more self-awareness.”