Since teaching can be one of the most challenging, exhausting, and downright difficult professions, I thought it might be interesting to figure out exactly what happy teachers are doing to meet the challenges of the teaching profession. I went on search for 5 things happy teachers do. You actually probably do a lot of these things, but I hope that you'll find an idea or two to help you feel a little happier in the classroom.
It's a fact...happy teachers laugh. That's no surprise since science has proven that laughing can lower your blood pressure, improve concentration, and reduce anxiety. Teachers need opportunities to laugh. Of course, it's great if you can laugh at work, but if you really need a quick laugh, you can actually get the same positive effects of belly laughing with friends by pretend laughing. I know, it sounds crazy. However, if you force yourself to laugh all on your own, you can reap the benefits of laughter.
Here's a technique that you can try to make yourself laugh. It's an idea from author Lesley Lyle's book Laugh Your Way to Happiness. It's called Aloha Laughing. To do it...
--- Raise your arms over your head.
--- Give a little stretch while saying, "Aloooo" long and loudly
--- Then, lower your arms and say, "Ha, ha, ha."
According to Lyle, the anticipation factor gets us laughing and feeling better. So, the next time you need a stress relief, you might try fake laughing. Or, just imagine if you did this with your students. Your entire class would be in stitches!
A happy group of students almost always leads to a happy teacher. And...what makes students happy? That's easy! Fun and engaging lessons! Giving students a chance to be creative is a sure-fire way to increase engagement in the classroom. In Dawn Dupriest's article "Creativity in the Classroom," she wrote that, "students of all ages need to learn by creating. It helps to synthesize information and bring joy and meaning into their educational experience." I couldn't agree more!
Planning fun lessons doesn't have to be overwhelming. Instead, adding a creative element to a rigorous lessons can easily amp up the "fun factor." Here are some simple ways to plan fun lessons:
--- Connect vocabulary to doodling. When students connect their learning to simple sketches, they're not only more engaged, they are also making powerful connections in their brains. --- Set up a literacy cafe after a writing unit. Get students excited about sharing their writing pieces with a literacy cafe. It's easy! Arrange the chairs in your classroom to look like a coffee shop's "Open Mic Night." Play some soft jazz music. Bring in a podium for students to stand behind. You might even bring in some sweet treats or serve some hot chocolate.
The idea is to plan lessons that you are excited to teach. Then, your students will be excited to learn...and that makes every teacher very, very happy!
According to a study on "Global Work Connectivity," over half of employees today feel isolated and lonesome at work all or most of the time. When I read this, I was reminded about just how lonely teaching can be. It's true that teachers are surrounded by students all day, but often they are alone in their work. That's why happy teachers make a conscious effort to connect with their coworkers.
Michael Stallard, an author, says that connecting with coworkers is one of the keys to fruitful work. Therefore, it's important to build bonds with others while teaching. Making an effort to develop relationships with teacher-friends or other staff members can be as easy as...
--- Inviting a colleague to go for a walk before, during, or after school.
--- Checking in with new teachers.
--- Seeking advice from seasoned teachers.
Happy teachers also make connections with their students. When teachers build bonds with students, it can have a profound impact on them. Connecting with students helps teachers feel happier, too. You can connect with students through writing journals, attending school events, or even infusing your students' interests into your lessons.
Happy teachers build meaningful relationships with others. It helps them feel less lonely and more satisfied in their jobs.
Practicing self-care can be hard for teachers. With crazy, busy jobs and stressful lives, taking time to take care of yourself isn't always easy. However, it's important to check back in with yourself. Here are some ideas that Dr. Tchiki Davis suggests...
--- Sleep (develop a nightly routine, use meditation apps, stay away from sugar at the end of the day)
--- Exercise (Daily exercise can boost our moods and reduce stress.)
--- Say "no" to others (Politely decline the next obligation or committee to give yourself a break.)
When teachers take time to nurture their own needs and interests, they become less stressed and more able to enjoy their jobs.
There is so much pressure on teachers these days. Often teachers feel misunderstood, unheard, and disrespected. Teachers sometimes feel like they have critics around every corner...and sometimes...their biggest critic is themselves!
How many times have you thought: Am I creating the right lessons? Do my students feel supported and loved? Have I done enough to prepare them for state assessments? Are my students' parents happy with me? The list of self-doubt is endless for a teacher. It seems that if the world is hard on teachers, teachers are even harder on themselves. That's why happy teachers give themselves grace.
Giving yourself grace means that when everything seems to be falling apart, you give yourself a gesture of kindness. Happy teachers remind themselves that they are doing important work to the very best of their ability. They know that perfection is an illusion. In fact, successful teachers make lots of mistake. Happy teachers let themselves mess up, and they forgive themselves for their errors.
I hope you've found a few strategies for infusing a little more happiness into your teaching days. Even if it's just taking a walk around the building at lunchtime or sending your co-worker a sweet message, each little thing you do can create happier moments in your day.
Thanks for stopping by!