They frame it much different than I would. These stories discuss ways to reduce stress.
A better way than stress reduction
I think a much more effective way is to go on offense. Pursue happiness.
What are education “leaders” doing about this? From what I see not much aside an occasional wellness day.
This isn’t a complaint. It’s just our reality. And that’s ok. My writing is positive and about solutions and will remain so.
A decent start on pursuing happiness as a teacher can be found here. The best part of this article is the recommendation for a gratitude journal.
I’ve been doing this as one of the first things in the morning each day and am a believer. I just write it on paper with pen or pencil. I number out 1-5 and start writing. Research shows it works.
But I think MUCH larger changes are necessary for teachers to pursue happiness.
Reasons for teachers to pursue happiness
The reasons for this should be obvious.
A happy teacher can radically change a student’s life.
A happy teacher can change an entire classroom.
A happy teacher can change an entire school.
A teacher being happy in their profession could be a simple but foundational change to fix education.
What would a happy teacher look like?
Well, what would a happy teacher even look like? Isn’t this kind of “cheesy” to even talk about?
We will get into the first question below. For the second question I don’t care.
A happy teacher is present each day. I don’t mean they are in attendance. I mean they are focused on one thing at a time.
They are left alone to focus on the basics – lesson preparation, teaching, grading, and then they go home and give their family their full attention.
A happy teacher spends time visualizing what they want from their life and their career. They have thought for hours about what their day should look like in and out of the classroom and they work towards making that a reality.
Happy teachers make time for people and activities that make them happy.
A happy teacher loves their job but they do not allow it to stampede their time and energy. They are aware that burnout and stress are always nearby.
A happy teacher exudes happiness and “infects” others.
A happy teacher knows that happiness includes how they choose to see challenges and the world.
They know happiness is not just going to “happen” to them.
A happy teacher smiles a lot.
A happy teacher knows they must choose to be positive and understands the importance of monitoring their mindset.
A happy teacher knows drama is a part of our profession but works to avoid as much of it as possible. When it happens they are prepared to handle it calmly.
A happy teacher knows they aren’t perfect and accepts themselves. They know others aren’t perfect either but choose to see the best in others.
A happy teacher doesn’t feel bad about avoiding toxic situations and people.
What else does a happy teacher do?
A happy teacher reads self improvement books like Dale Carnegie’s and watches talks on the same topic from Gretchen Rubin, Dalai Llama, Kamal Ravikant, and Mattieu Ricard while others think this topic is beneath them.
(None of these authors would tell you to sit back and wait for happiness to pursue you)
A happy teacher has a growth mindset and realizes happiness can be learned and can be improved.
A happy teacher knows their health and fitness plays a role in their emotional and mental state.
There a short list to get started.
Professional development time and money spent on this would easily pay for itself. Wouldn’t it? Shouldn’t this be the ultimate goal in education?
Or am I just crazy and “selfish?”