About & Contact

Catharine Hannay
Contact Information

I always welcome reader comments and suggestions.  
If you have a product or organization to promote, please note that I do not accept any advertising or paid links. I do accept thoughtful guest posts from mindfulness teachers with expertise to share with their colleagues around the world. 

You can reach me at: mindfulteachers@gmail.com

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About Me: Catharine Hannay

I'm a writer and teacher from the northeastern United States. I'm the author of Being You, a workbook on mindfulness, compassion, and self-acceptance for teen girls. Currently I'm working on a book about self-care for teachers.

Here at MindfulTeachers.org, I write about my own experiences with mindfulness and complementary practices like compassion and gratitude, and I coordinate content from experienced mindfulness teachers and teacher trainers. 

For about twenty years I worked in adult ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), which I sometimes compare to teaching kindergarten and graduate school simultaneously.  It's not uncommon to have some students who are barely literate in their first language and others with advanced degrees from their home country--certainly in the same semester, occasionally even in the same class.

ESOL was the perfect field for someone like me with a wide variety of interests: history, art, music, literature, psychology... You name it, I've probably taught it, at least for a lesson or two.

I became interested in mindfulness as a way of dealing with pressures at work and during a family crisis.  I noticed that the more I could stay calm and focused on the present moment, the better I could cope with whatever was going wrong... and the better I could appreciate all the things that were going right.

This also helped shift the atmosphere in my classes, and I began trying mindfulness techniques with my students (without necessarily labeling them as such).  For example, "It seems like everyone's getting stressed about tomorrow's quiz.  Let's all take a deep breath, then review what you need to study." Mindful or Mindless?THINK Before You Speak and The Sound of GratitudeThe Sound of Compassion, etc., are adapted from activities I've done with my ESOL students.  

So, who are 'Mindful Teachers'?

We all are, or have the potential to be, whether or not we work as teachers. We can all share our knowledge and wisdom, and we can all be positive role models for each other through our actions and attitudes.

It's important to provide the highest quality education possible, but it's equally important to share our love of learning and to see each student as an individual with unique challenges and strengths. This is essential in an educational system that's increasingly focused on standardization and statistical measures of success. 

Teachers and students all over the world face similar challenges, and the same basic mindfulness practices can benefit people of any age and any culture.  Readers of this site are practicing and teaching mindfulness in:
Albania, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, England, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Lithuania, Malta, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Wales, and Zambia.    
(Based on Facebook followers, newsletter subscribers, and folks who've contacted me directly. If your country isn't mentioned, please let me know so I can add you to the list.)

Does this mean I should start meditating with my students?

Not necessarily.  In fact, I strongly caution against it unless you meditate yourself and have been trained to lead meditation sessions with the age group you teach.  

I've had the privilege of interviewing many experts on teaching mindfulness, who've generously shared their suggestions: one lesson that comes up again and again is to start practicing mindfulness ourselves before teaching it to others.

The Activities page has a lot of suggestions for values-based teaching and informal mindfulness practices like noticing the five senses.  There are also formal mindfulness practices such as body scan and breathing meditation, which you might want to try in your personal practice (or use in teaching if you have more experience).

I'm so busy already!  How can I find the time for mindfulness?

Mindfulness can be practiced in the midst of your usual schedule.  You may find that you actually have more time and energy to get things done, because it helps you let go of anxiety and focus on what's truly important. 

You might want to start with the Self-Care Page, How Mindful am I?, or What's the Best Mindfulness Practice for Me?

Wherever you are in your practice, welcome to the growing community of people from around the world who are interested in Living, Learning, and Teaching with Mindful Awareness.