Is it possible to be a happy healthy teacher? To prosper as a teacher?
You know the education system is not working.
So how the heck are you supposed to have fun and be healthy?
You could complain.
Or you could wish you were taught useful skills and habits in college.
You could wait around for someone else to change things for you.
Or you could decide to become a happier, healthier teacher. You could decide to have more fun, have more career options, and be more useful to our students.
The skills and beliefs below are well-known outside of education. They are skills and beliefs that I am currently working on. I am no expert. I am simply a teacher on the journey towards improvement.
As I began I found that these skills and beliefs compound each other, continuously giving more momentum to continue.
Positive habits and beliefs create a snowball effect.
For example, when you start meditating you’ll find you have more impulse control to eat healthy.
This is part one of a three part series. Enter your email above to get the next two parts sent to you.
- Part I will cover mindset and habits.
- Part II will cover skills.
- Part III will cover your physical health
- Part IV will cover one-time tasks to complete.
Mindset and Habits
Find YOUR Purpose – Why did you become a teacher? Why are you a teacher now? What do you want in your career and life? You could spend your whole life trying to answer these questions. Be in pursuit. Write down your purpose with a pen and paper. When you find your purpose you tap into a huge energy source for your life and your teaching. Your students will feed off of that energy.
My purpose is inspiring and motivating my students to want to love reading and writing. I know when I am spending my time on my purpose I have a lot of it. I also know when my time and energy are being wasted because it is off purpose.
Love Yourself – Do you want to be happy? Do you want happy students? Students who respect you and each other? Start by loving and respecting yourself. You are doing something great for your students and the world. Be proud of what you do. Your students are counting on you.If you are thinking ugly thoughts about yourself that is going to carry over into your classroom and poison you. Here is a series of TED talks on the topic of happiness.
Love Your Students – I don’t care how this sounds. Each of your students has at least one thing that you can find to love. They will feel it and know it when you do. Your tone with them will show it. Your body language will show it. You won’t even have to say it. When you love your students they will know.
Your nonverbal language will tell them far more than your verbal.
Be Grateful – You’ve been given an opportunity. You’ve been given a chance to change lives. Respect and appreciate it. Take it seriously and remember it. You aren’t “just” a teacher. You are a teacher. What freedoms and possibilities has being a teacher afforded you? Write down reasons you are grateful.
Think Long Term – Our society is obsessed with instant gratification. Fast food. Being entertained nonstop. “How much does that cost per month?” “Surviving” until the weekend. “Surviving” until the summer. Forget that. You are better than that.
You are bigger than that. Think back to #1 on this list and align your daily activities with why you teach. Your challenges as a teacher won’t become smaller. You will become bigger by adding more skills and habits.
In the long run this will cause you less time and less aggravation.
Have an Abundance Mindset – There are fascinating people everywhere. I seem to find 1-2 more books each day I want to read. There is no shortage of ideas for ways for me to improve as a teacher. If you are looking to earn more money as a teacher that is available to you.
Whatever you want out of teaching and out of life is there to take. Just find the path and pay the price or don’t.
Create Your Own Teacher Evaluation and Mark New Areas “Needs Improvement” – Rethink everything. Your “personality” is made up of skills that you can improve. Speaking ability. Body language. Your energy level. Technology. Your first impression. Your appearance.
All of it is upgradeable.
There are certainly areas of improvement you’ll think of right away that aren’t even on this list.
Personal Development > Professional Development – Turn your car ride to and from work into your personal development time. Same for lunch time.
Be Selfish – Make time for yourself. To learn. For exercise. Heck, just for resting.
The time most likely to be successful doing this is going to be in the morning before school.
Do Less and Have Less – We live in a “have more stuff” society. Turn off the news. Silence notifications on your phone. Get off the internet. Declutter your desk. And your car. Then maybe even your house. Sell your unnecessary junk. It’s liberating and frees up your mind to focus on more fun things.
I am a big fan of Leo Babauta. Here are 20 of his top posts about minimizing stress and obligations. You’re teacher mind will be freed up to be more creative and useful to your students.
Develop a Morning Routine – Hal Elrod has written a book on this. Own the morning and you will own your day. Your morning routine should include things to mentally and physically prepare you for your day. “Sharpen the saw.” These practices will fill you with energy to start your day and put you in a great mood.
Is it easy? No. But your day isn’t easy.
Meditate – When I was younger I’d laugh to myself when someone mentioned meditating.
“How stupid. Who does that?” I’d think. I’ve now meditated well over 100 hours the past two years and I see a major difference on the days I skip.
Meditation should be part of your morning routine but if you miss make sure you find time during the day.
Here is some of the research on meditation.
Be Curious – I had very few interests when I started teaching. The Chicago Bulls. Running. Video games. The Walking Dead. That’s about it. Had I had a wider range of interests I’d have been more use to my students and have been expanding my interests.
I’ve exposed myself to famous art, studied important historical events, visited famous geographical locations. I’ve realized the world is filled with fascinating people, religions, cultures, foods, music, comedians, celebrities, athletes, companies, and products.
Along the way I also learned that learning new things releases chemicals that bring you joy. This has made me more useful and helped me to know that my students are having chemicals released when they learn something new.
Set Goals But Focus on Process– Set lofty goals for yourself. Fitness goals. Financial goals. Professional goals, etc. Set goals but put your energy into the process of achieving those goals.
This way you aren’t in a never ending loop of “almost achieved.”
To get part II and III enter your email above. You’ll also get a copy of my free report on motivating your students.