Teacher happiness can be difficult to find sometimes.
Look. What other profession provides almost no restroom breaks, works exclusively with developing humans, has a 20-minute lunch, and requires you to spend your own money for your professional tools?
Let’s face it. Teaching is tough!
But we knew that after our college internship. And we jumped in anyway – because teaching’s a passion!
How do we maintain our happiness…even as we try to improve student learning…and even as we press to higher levels of excellence…even when decisions around us don’t make sense?
Teacher Happiness Key #1: Slow Down
Students do not learn more by doing more in a lesson.
Sometimes we feel like we can squeeze every minute out of the lesson by doing another activity. This doesn’t produce more learning. In reality, it causes cognitive chaos where students are unable to process and organize information in their minds.
Too fast is a blur for students. Too fast is stressful for the teacher. It’s okay to slow down.
Focus on one or two goals in a learning block and then plan only the most important learning activities.
Take your time, model and practice the activity well. Give students time to be successful. They’ll learn more, and you’ll be a happier teacher.Too-fast-teaching is a blur. It's okay to slow down! #teachingClick To Tweet
Teacher Happiness Key #2: Exercise in Class
Relieve the stress and tension during class time. Students need breaks to increase blood flow to the brain – exercise is the perfect remedy. (Read more on How to Increase Engagement with Physical Movement)
You can join in too!
- A few slow stretches with deep breathing can calm.
- A few jumping jacks can excite and wake up a class from lethargy.
- A few calm push-ups or plank poses can increase the blood flow just enough for focus.
- A two-minute silent walk down the hall and back can refresh minds, reduce stress, and recharge attention.
Different exercises can have different results, but ultimately they do relieve stress and increase happiness. And this is great for you, the learning environment, and the students!Brief exercises in class can increase your happiness & enhance learning! #teachingClick To Tweet
Teacher Happiness Key #3: Stop Teaching
When students aren’t seeming to get it. They just aren’t grasping what you’re teaching, just stop teaching.
No, don’t quit the profession! 🙂 But do stop teaching. Sometimes overexplaining creates less learning. Stop teaching and give students time to process. Use these steps:
- Have students write the first 7 words that come to mind with the topic that you’re teaching (i.e. “gravity”, “ordered pairs”, “plot”).
- Walk around and observe what students write. This will help make their learning visible to you and them. (Read more on visible learning)
- Ask students to explain which word on their list is most important in this topic. Call on a few volunteers.
- Ask students to explain which word on their list is causing the most confusion.
This activity will help students to process the information. When they write the words, they are solidifying connections in their brain. When they talk, they are probably explaining the topic in ways that you didn’t.
You’ll be happier, and they’ll learn more.
How do you stay happy in the classroom? What techniques help you to maintain your peace and strength?
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