With the Mindful Me Programme finishing another successful school year of providing Mindfulness and Fusion Therapeutic Life Coaching to both pupils and staff, it is important to reflect on an important part of the journey… the practitioners.
Social Sense has decided that over the next few weeks to sit down and chat with the Mindful Me practitioners, learning more about their interest in Mindfulness and their journey to becoming a Mindful Me practitioner.
Currently, Social Sense has around 15 Mindfulness practitioners in its network, ranging across the country.
With this in mind, what a better way to start than with the Lead Practitioner Sally Wilkinson.
Sally, tell me a bit about you and your background?
I started my career in education as a Teaching Assistant and then trained (late in life!) as a secondary English Teacher. Loved the job but, after having my second child, struggled to cope with the increasing workload and the demands the job put on me and my family.
How did you first hear about and become interested in Mindful Me and Fusion?
I Realised that, as a teacher, you’re doing a very important job but you have very little time to give to pupils who are experiencing emotional problems. In the run, up to exams in the term before I left, I remember feeling helpless when pupils left the classroom in tears because the stress of the exams and the pressure to do well had become too much for them. In a way, I felt responsible for this – I had targets to meet; my pupils needed to achieve their target grades and I had to push them to succeed. I felt I wanted to do more to help those individuals who were struggling to cope with the ever-increasing pressures of school and home life and have the time to actually talk to them. In teaching, there’s never enough time to do anything and I had become frustrated with this.
I heard about Mindful Me through a friend and went along to observe some sessions on the Halton pilot project. I recognised that delivering the sessions was just like teaching but with the added benefit of reaching out to young people and equipping them with real life skills and ways of coping with the pressures of life.
So, describe your journey to becoming a Mindful Me practitioner?
I completed the Fusion Diploma the weekend after I left my teaching job and absolutely loved it. The course content is fascinating and I felt excited about passing on my new knowledge to others.
I began working for the Foundation for Ribble Valley Families a couple of months later, doing one-to-one Fusion coaching with young people and adults. I continue to love this aspect of my work; it’s an incredibly rewarding role and a real privilege to be able to steer young people through difficult times.
As Lead Practitioner for Social Sense, I really enjoy delivering the Mindfulness and Fusion sessions to young people. It’s great when they engage with the information you’re giving them and they recognise the importance of it. With my teaching experience, I also enjoy shaping the sessions and supporting the other practitioners.
What was your favourite school so far and why?
Schools that stand out in my mind are Aston Manor Academy in Birmingham where I did six weeks of one-to-one coaching with five fantastic young people and Walkden High School in Salford – a huge school that I was daunted at the prospect of delivering to but I experienced the fantastic ethos and learning environment created by the staff for their pupils.
By Reece Hobson, with a massive thank you to Sally Wilkinson.