Stress and burnout are common for teachers and other school personnel. Limited supplies, low pay, large classes, unsupportive families and administrations that are bound by rules and regulations contribute to this. There have been walkouts recently in LA and Denver by teachers to protest poor working conditions and low wages.
Laughter Yoga NYC has been hired by principals in several NYC schools to work with their teachers and conduct laughter yoga sessions. Laughter yoga promotes stress relief and mood elevation as well as social connectedness.
In one school in Brooklyn, there were two professional development sessions on Election Day 2018 for all the teachers. A group of over 50 attended both sessions. In addition to the typical stresses facing educators, this group had lost a long time colleague recently to cancer. Grief was now added to their emotional profiles. While the sessions cannot eliminate the feelings of loss, laughter yoga is a great way to bring people together in an upbeat, cohesive place. It is an opportunity to become present in the moment and fill oneself with joy and preempt other nagging feelings, if even for a brief time.
The results were very encouraging. Two members of the group asked if they could participate in the next training to become a laughter yoga leader. The principal, who attended one of the two sessions was very receptive and positive and asked that LYNYC LLC return during the winter. Further, recommendations from this school were given to other schools and we will be returning to do Professional Development in a neighboring school in March.
In addition to the session, Laughter Yoga Professional Development for Educators includes instruction on helping their students with breathing exercises for children, and simple ways to encourage mindfulness for themselves and for their students.