Behaviour Management · Teaching Strategies

Happiness in the Classroom

Happiness should be promoted in every classroom. It is contagious and your students should feel happy to come to class every single day. You can teach your students to think optimistically in many ways.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Try having a compliment box in your class. Encourage the students to write something nice about someone on a piece of paper and put it in the box. The teacher can then read some out at the end of each day or the week. 

It may be useful to survey the students at the beginning of the year or term to find out what makes them happy and what motivates them. Ask them what activities they would like to do and provide them with options, for example; computer time, class quiz at the end of the day and so on. 

Encourage an ‘I Can’ attitude. Students often say things such as “I can’t do that”; when you hear an ‘I can’t’ attitude, turn it around. For example, “I don’t know fractions” can be changed into “I am learning about fractions.” This change of mindset transforms the impossible to possible and worth attempting which builds students’ confidence and self esteem. 

Encourage gratitude by asking the students to write down three things they are grateful for at the end of the day. The students are then given a chance to reflect and be thankful to those that have brought something good to their lives or have acted kindly towards them. Students may write down family members, friends, teachers or a pet. They may also be thankful for their home, freedom, food, shelter and games.

Encouraging the students to be grateful, promotes the relieving of stress, fear and frustration. It is also a highly regarded quality that can be beneficial to any individuals’ life. 

Put down behaviour needs to be eliminated from the classroom. Teachers need to ensure students are not putting down other students and that the teacher, intentionally or unintentionally, is also not putting down students. Put downs negatively affect self esteem and have no place in the classroom. 

Relaxation techniques may help students who are feeling anxious, frustrated, angry or simply need time to settle. Asking students to close their eyes and slowly breathe in and out through their nose while listening to meditation music creates a sense of stillness and inner calm which can then lead to a positive environment, happiness and a great learning environment and mind set. Relaxation techniques should be incorporated into the daily routine in order to encourage motivation and positive attitudes

A positive attitude is highly beneficial to students and adults alike. Negative thoughts affect students and may lead to low self esteem or even depression. Positive thinking has been linked to success in students and encourages them to perform to the best of their ability.

Students should always be encouraged to try their best and to have a go. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard teachers talk about a lesson or a test and (unintentionally) terrify the students. I believe that before giving students a test, teachers need to remind students about all the work they have completed and remind them that it is okay if they don’t know an answer, as long as they try their best.

Teachers also need to remember their attitude has an enormous impact on the atmosphere of a classroom. While everyone has their bad days, it is important that the teacher brings a positive attitude into the classroom all day, every day in order to get the best out of their students.

These simple techniques not only foster a positive learning environment, happy students and teacher, but help the students in becoming successful and happy adults.

How do you promote happiness in your classroom?



Long, J. (2000). Lecture 9: Preventing Misbehaviour [PowerPoint]. Retrieved from

Thobhani, S. (2011). Boosting Emotional Intelligence in your Classroom. Retrieved from

15 thoughts on “Happiness in the Classroom

  1. A good post! In my school some of the classes have a person of the week. The child leaves the room and the rest of the class comes up with a list of lots of positive things about them. When they come back in it is read and displayed. The person of the week brings in pictures of themselves from home to add to their display and they are allowed to wear their own clothes for one day of that week. The children seem to really love it!


    1. Thank you, I’m glad you liked it. Oh what a birilliant idea, I have never heard of that being done before! I definitely love the idea of a poster displaying positive things about the student of the week. Another great idea I can use in my future classroom! Thank you so much for sharing!


  2. Ashley,

    You continue to show how amazing an educator you’re going to be with each post that you put up. There are so many different personalities, so many different interests in a classroom. We have to find ways to make sure that each of those students are able to walk in and leave with a smile on their face. We never know what kind of situation this students are facing. Sometimes their time in school is their best time of the day. It’s so important to make sure these students feel comfortable in the classroom environment and us teachers, as role models, play such a pivotal role in that. If you’re able to do all of the things you mentioned, you’re going to not only have a great class community but also an extremely successful year for ALL students.

    Shawn Avery


    1. Hi Shawn,

      What a lovely comment, thank you for such kind words. I cannot agree with you more about the importance of making the students feel comfortable and as teachers we have such a great opportunity to make a difference. Your encouragement is appreciated beyond words!

      Thanks again,



  3. Thanks for the post. Such a great reminder of how our attitude influences our classrooms. It’s so important to remember this even in the middle of reporting and testing time.

    I have often tried to emphasize the importance of positive attitude to learning. “don’t say no just have a go” has been a saying in my prep classroom this year. In previous years I have also done a lesson on adjective and how we can use them to describe others which has been really positive.

    I appreciate your point about teachers sometimes putting pressure on students during test an am always very conscious of telling them it is just to find out what they know so we can help them with things. It’s not about getting it all right.



    1. Hi Kylie,

      I’m happy to hear the post has been beneficial. I definitely agree that remembering how much of an effect our attitudes can have on a class is really important.

      Thanks for sharing your brilliant ideas! “Don’t say no and just have a go” is a great slogan and using a lesson on adjectives to be positive is fantastic. However, I really love what you say to your students before a test! More teachers need to be like that, I’m impressed!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment,



  4. Hi Ashley,

    Really enjoyed the post!

    I find a teachers own attitude or how they’re feeling rubs off on the students. When I’m on placement I try and forget or leave at home anything that might distract me or make me seem a ‘little off’.
    I want to be as happy and relaxed as I can possibly be, so I can create the same kind of feeling for my students and have it hopefully rub off.



      1. Hi Mick,

        Thanks for such a lovely comment. I’m really glad you enjoyed the post! I think it is a simple idea but very easy to forget. It is really important to leave distractions and worries at home, but easier said than done! I’m sure your positive attitude rubs off on your students, good luck!



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