Teacher preparation and professional development are not getting the job done for you.
You shouldn’t need to be at the end of your career when you “figure out” how to get ahead. We don’t all have a Mr. Miyagi to show us the important ins and outs of a rewarding teaching career.
This is the fourth on happy, healthy teacher habits.
Tasks for Teachers to Do or Learn
- Stop Getting Robbed Through Your Retirement Plan – Teachers are losing millions of dollars in their 403(b) plans. The vast majority of teachers are paying excessive fees for very low growth products. Talk to your school about how to switch to Vanguard or Fidelity. Do not rely on just your pension. Want a step by step guide for getting your district to switch to a better plan? Click here.
- Finish Your Graduate Degree – I am finishing now. I wish I’d done it earlier in my career. It’s worth the time investment but be proactive about not burying yourself in more student loan debt.
- Study Success and Successful People – Look OUTSIDE of education. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, Warren Buffett, John Bogle, Charlie Munger, Bill Gates, General Patton. It doesn’t matter who. Get creative. Successful people are all over and we can learn from them.
You will start noticing patterns.
- Study Happiness and Happy People – Why isn’t this a subject taught in schools? Are we worried someone will be “offended?” Is it too “unscientific” to talk about?The topic fascinates me and I appreciate that smart people have spent considerable time researching the topic. You can learn what they’ve found.
Read the books by Matthieu Ricard, Kamal Ravikant, Gretchen Rubin, and the Dalai Lama. They’ve all written books on the topic. It might seem silly but don’t you really deserve to know what the research says?
- Learn How to Have Multiple Revenue Streams – You are a teacher. But, you have LOADS of skills worth money that could (and SHOULD) be trickling into your bank account. Forget the “we shouldn’t think like that” losers who you surely know. You’ve got nothing to apologize for.
I am not talking about going and ripping someone off or a get rich quick scam. I am talking about providing a product or resource to other people for money taking advantage of skills you already have (with flexible committment and little cost).
TeachersPayTeachers. Build an online course. Tutoring. Cooking. Uber or Lyft. Coaching. Photography. Writing. Take advantage of it “just in case.” Your district could let you go any time they feel like it. Don’t wait until you are putting your things in a box and walking out to the parking lot.
- Learn to Network – You can connect with anyone through email, snail mail, Twitter, Facebook, etc. It’s an open world. You can reach anyone.
If I can be in the New York Times and other national news outlets and be contacted by the White House and members of Congress anyone can. If I needed an education question answered I know there are some brilliant minds on Twitter who are kind enough to respond to me – Vicki Davis, Richard Byrne, Ed Mills, or even non-teachers like author Carmine Gallo and famous cartoonist Scott Adams, multiple Guinness Book World Record Holder Wim Hof and others.
- Learn to Track Data on Yourself – You can now track and measure infinite aspects of your life you’d like to improve. Your finances, energy level, calories, mood, exercise, what works in your side business, etc.. Why goes when so many free tools exist that can help you know what works?
- Live on Less Than a Teacher’s Salary – My mind was absolutely blown away when I read The Millionaire Next Door and Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover and realized how simple the path to becoming a millionaire is. Not easy. But simple.
I later learned about Ed Mills and Andrew Hallam and realized some teachers had already become millionaires. If nothing else it’s worth your time to know how they got there – investing early or in large amounts and living well below a teacher’s salary.
- Learn How to Find Reliable Information – I don’t mean the crap they teach you in school about which “sources” are good or the media’s hysteria about “fake news.”
I mean getting reliable information about your health, information about a car you might buy, a laptop, a camera, etc. Read reviews on Amazon, blogs, and other sites that aren’t profiting from the review.
- Understand Basic Psychology – People don’t act rationally. I wasted a lot of time thinking otherwise. You can save yourself the time trying to “figure people out” and just accept that humans generally act on emotion. Read Influence by Robert Cialdini. You’ll also want to know when these things are being used on you. The research on neuroscience and what is being scientifically proven to get people to take action and to learn can make your job a lot easier.
- Learn to Give a Compliment – This goes back to becoming a better a better listener. This will help you build relationships and be more charismatic. You’ll get a nice shot of dopamine and it builds and repairs relationship. Mean it. Be specific about it. Be able to identify something positive to say.
- Learn to Take a Compliment – Someone is doing something nice for you. Say thank you. Accept it and enjoy it. I’ve struggled with this.
- Learn to Lead – You will need to lead something larger than your classroom at some point. Be ready. It is useful to know what good leadership looks like and what it doesn’t. I’ve heard great things about “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” and “The One Minute Manager” from many people.
- Identify and Use Criticism vs. Hate – I still hate being criticized most times. I really have no time for just pure hatred.
Think about your evaluation and performance in and out of the classroom. What have people said to you that you could pull something useful from to grow? Put the emotion aside and take advantage of that. Have a growth mindset.
- Know Your Chemistry – Dopamine, Oxytocin can be released on command, smiling, posture, hug, exercise, speaking, taking a risk, learning something new all release positive chemicals. You can learn how to release certain chemicals in your body that have positive effects by taking certain actions.
Note: If you endure zero stress during the school day you don’t need to worry about this one.
- Learn How to Get Momentum – Do something you can get a rush from that is positive to spread to other areas of your life. Scott Adams calls getting an easy win each day. Do something positive each day that can spill over into other areas of your life.
- Learn To Say No – Otherwise you will be owned by the day. Or someone else. It is OK to say no to other people. Get comfortable with it.
- Know Basic Social Media – Use it for learning, job hunting, selling, researching people, topics, and products you are interested in. If you are using it to connect with someone don’t start off asking them for a favor.
Leave a comment below and let me know, “Which of these have you already done or look forward to getting started with today?”