I think you deserve to have a rewarding career as a teacher.
You deserve a career that not only provides you enough income but happiness and great health.
Is this possible? I think so.
Below are 14 ways to put you first for once. You deserve to have the tools to work smarter and have more fun.
The bad news is that these tools aren’t going to come from anybody but you.
But that’s ok. Go and take them. And don’t feel guilty about it for one second.
This is final installment of The Ultimate Guide to Happier, Healthier, Wealthier Teachers.
Here are parts 1-4 of The Ultimate Guide to Happier, Healthier, Wealthier Teachers series.
This is not a list of habits and skills you must go out and acquire today. It’s a list of tools to gradually acquire over time one by one. You don’t need to become perfect at these. Just passable.
14 Ways to Be a Happier, Healthier, Wealthier Teacher
- Understand the Importance of Your First Impression – Your first impression with students, parents, and administrators is more important than you think. Your appearance, words, body language, eye contact, etc. all will set the tone on how hard students will work for you and others will work with you. Because of how the human brain works, once they form an opinion about you in those first few seconds it is incredibly hard to change. Take advantage of this knowledge and put your warmest and most positive self forward.
- Become a Better Writer – Becoming a better writer does not mean throwing more fancy words into your writing. It means the opposite. Simplify your writing. Write to yourself and others in a more basic format. Some of the best selling books for adults are still written at a junior high level. This is not an accident. People are more likely to read simple text. Follow a subject-verb-object format when possible. You have good ideas and want your students to understand what you are telling them. Simple is better.
- Be a Storyteller – Know your story and be able to tell. But also be able to tell a story. Storytelling is a great way to connect with others, to be entertaining and to have more fun. Keep a list of go-to stories that you can use in class and with friends. This is an incredibly valuable skill as humans have evolved hearing stories.
- Understand SEO and How the Search Engines Work – Do you know why Google puts some pages on page 1 of a search and not others? Do you know why and how Google deems some sites as credible? It is worth knowing.
- Grow Your Network – It is easy to get swallowed up in all of the negativity and overwhelm in education. It’s important to have some positive go-to people in your network. If you can’t get face to face a virtual network works too. Here are some of my favorite teachers on Twitter that I consider a support network.
- Be a Negotiator – Maybe it is for better working conditions, saving money on a major purchase, or setting up rewards for your students being able to negotiate is a learnable skill. It’s also fun.
- Learn Self-Defense – Wouldn’t we all feel a bit better if every teacher knew self-defense? Note I didn’t say offense. I said defense. School violence and school bullying are an unfortunate reality and hopefully teachers would never need to know it. It would be better if they did though. It’s also a good form of exercise and self confidence.
- Study Productivity – The more research I read about productivity the more I see it matches my experiences. Multitasking doesn’t work. We should give it up. Not only that but we certainly shouldn’t be expecting students to do it in class. One. Thing. At. A. Time.
- Be Proactive – For God’s sake please stop waiting for politicians to “fix” education. It is NOT going to happen. Take full responsibility for what you want your classroom, body, life, finances, etc. to be and work towards that. The government is not going to swoop in and fix anything.
- Master Your Evaluation Process – You could probably sit down for a few hours and know everything you need about your evaluation process. This would have a massive return on your time invested. You will thank yourself later for doing this.
- Prepare Your Students for Life Beyond a Classroom – When talking about your class content realize they aren’t all going to college. Nor should they. There are plenty of good careers that do not involve paying for an overpriced degree. Be prepared to tie your lessons to a variety of areas of life – not just college preparation.
- Enhance Your Technology Skills – Start by simply expanding your use of Google. Drive, Gmail, Sheets, Forms. All of them can make your life easier. Isn’t that what technology is all about? You don’t need to become an expert. Just good enough.
- Steal From the Entertainment Industry – Hollywood. Video game producers. TV writers and producers. Comedians. They all know how to get and keep people’s attention. They do it for a living. This is a learnable skill that could make your classroom a lot easier and more engaging. That would mean less effort in reaching your students and having more fun. Win win.
- Always Be Learning – New skills. New languages. Just keep learning. You get a boost of positive chemicals in your body. Plus it is fun, will be useful and it’s good to know how students feel.
Thank you for reading.
What skills and habits have made you a happier, healthier teacher?