Susan Dreyer Leon, EdD, has been AUNE since 2003 and is currently serving as Chair of the Education Department. She is also the Coordinator of the Mindfulness for Educators program. A former alternative public high school teacher and leader in New York City and in Vermont, her 30-year career in education has focused on education as a pathway for personal and community transformation. Whether working with disenfranchised youth or mid-career teachers, she believes in the power of strong learning communities to create new opportunities for growth that help people realize their full potential. Dr. Dreyer Leon is a School Reform Initiative National Facilitator and consults regularly with area schools interested in using professional learning community tools to improve adult culture in schools.
On the Mindfulness for Educators Program
“In my mind, this program is about reflective teaching practice. This is what Antioch has always been about. In order to continue to grow and thrive as a teacher, we have to have the capacity to look honestly and effectively at our own classrooms and keep growing. I can’t actually tell you what you need to learn and improve upon to be a better teacher, but I have absolute faith that you can discover it for yourself. I know that as teachers we need to be able to see how our own views, opinions, and reactivity shape the character of our classrooms. We need to be able to understand our own motivations and needs. Above all, we need to be able to see our students – not through the lenses of our perceptions and judgments, but as they are. We need to be able to look for student learning. We need to be able to catch that moment when a student understands something for the first time and learn how to create the conditions to allow that to flourish. It’s hard to do that if we are always lost in stories in our heads, plagued with doubts about our own performance, trapped in judgment and reactivity that blocks access to compassion and open-hearted awareness.”