Sep 20, 2021

Growing our Instructor Team

As demand for our open courses increases, along with new partnerships requiring custom courses, we need more teaching time from our instructors. Across this year we have piloted an internal training program in which we provided additional training to three existing ZCP facilitators to qualify them to teach our Mindful Caregiving Education (MCE). 

The training consisted of 20 hours teaching with Executive Director, Roy Remer, and Senior Instructor, Mary Doane, covering our key modules, best practices for teaching MCE, and also a session dedicated to teaching online through Zoom. This training will be followed by the instructors co-teaching MCE courses with Roy or Mary.

Two of the instructors have shared what they learned from the training.

Loretta Lowrey

Loretta is a volunteer caregiver for people in hospice and palliative care. She has been facilitating New Volunteer Training with ZCP since 2017.

What, for you, was the most surprising thing you learned from this training? 

I was surprised to learn in the MCE training that I can set aside all expectations of delivering the perfect presentation and focus instead on being fully present to offer practices to caregivers. While there is much content to cover, I saw how effectively it was absorbed when there was plenty of space around the ideas. And by letting go of all sense of “performance,” my complete attention shifts to our participants. I look forward to practicing presence in the context of teaching

How do you feel it will support you in your professional teaching?

I know how powerful presence can be in caregiving, at the bedside with family members, and in hospice and palliative care settings. Presence is wholehearted and caring attention. It invites connection through deep listening – listening inward to mind, body, and heart; listening to others; listening with openness. With presence, we are better able to see what is true, and be with whatever shows up in the room, no matter how difficult. I feel certain that trusting and focusing on presence will support my teaching in the same ways it supports caregiving.

Was there anything you learned that you feel will be supportive personally?

Sometimes learning can mean remembering what we already know. The reminder to lead with an open heart will support me in life as well as teaching. The warmth and open-heartedness of the teachers and participants in the training helped me remember how healing this can be. I saw in them how leading with an open heart can be expressed through kindness, acceptance, vulnerability, and authenticity. Trusting presence and leading with an open heart are important lessons that will serve me, and allow me to serve others well.

Teresa is a journalist and zen practitioner. Born in Latin America, she grew up in Spain, and became a US citizen after two decades living and working in the US. She currently lives in Spain and takes care of her mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s.

Teresa partnered with ZCP to develop and teach our MCE for Spanish-speaking caregivers, which will be run in early 2022.

What, for you, was the most surprising thing you learned from this training? 

As part of the training, we did an exercise around Loss, which was very powerful. It made me realize how difficult it is to let go of things we care about, let go of our abilities, people in our lives, and our self-identities. Thinking that the people we care for or have cared for in the past already lost many of the things we struggle to let go of made me feel very compassionate towards them. The importance of setting boundaries and not feeling guilty about it was also a great learning.

How do you feel it will support you in your professional teaching?

The intense training, the teachings of Roy and Mary, the exchanges with the other instructors, and the opportunity to teach some of the modules prepared us for the next step of becoming instructors ourselves. I am very grateful.

Was there anything you learned that you feel will be supportive personally?

For me, I learned the importance of self-compassion and setting boundaries.

We at ZCP are grateful for the time and dedication our instructors have shown, and for their passion to support those caregiving for others. If you are interested in training with us, please keep an eye on the website for announcements of upcoming training opportunities.

If you like what you read, please join us and enroll in one of our courses, share our work with someone you think will benefit from it, or support us through a donation.


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