Photo of Caren McDonald

Caren McDonald

High School Teacher

East Palo Alto CA USA

Home Phone: 626-319-4544

About My Work

Profession/Role

  • Classroom Teacher

Ages

  • 6th-8th
  • 9th-12th

Environments

  • Education / Classroom Program

Specialties

Working with adolescents from underserved communities, LGBTQ adolescents. Working with teachers, facilitating professional developments, creating curriculum. Creating curriculum, and leading large groups of teenagers in mindfulness activities.

Biography

Caren McDonald has over 25 years of experience working with children and adolescents, both as a high school teacher and a social worker. Her personal mindfulness practice has transformed her experience as a teacher, having transitioned from an almost burned out teacher before establishing a mindfulness practice to an inspired teacher after. She believes strongly that teaching is a calling. Caren also believes that 21st Century education demands a lot from teachers, and that teachers need to be supported in order to find success and sustainability in the classroom. She advocates for both student happiness and teacher sustainability, and believes that a healthy mindfulness practice can serve as a foundational bridge between the student and the teacher. Caren was a social worker for 15 years before becoming a high school English teacher. When she saw how stressed out her students were, she began to teach them mindfulness, and she hasn’t stopped since. Her Mindfulness-Based Interpersonal Skills curriculum is the first mindfulness-based course to be officially approved by the University of California matriculation process so that high school students may receive transferable credits into the California State and University systems. Caren has also taught Restorative Justice, and has credentials as both an English teacher and a Social Studies teacher. Caren has been in the unique position to work closely with her school’s social worker, where they co-facilitated a workshop at Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth in 2014 at the University of San Diego. Her school received a grant from the 1440 Foundation, which allowed for collaboration with the Adolescent Psychiatry Department at Stanford University. She has lectured on the efficacy of mindfulness to teaching candidates at Stanford’s School of Education, and has facilitated professional developments for teachers in her district. Caren has also published an article about mindfulness in Green Teacher magazine.