Category Archives: Happiness

Back to School: Teacher Edition

2016.PNGAs the summer holidays come to an end, it won’t be long before we are back in the classroom with our new students. Take a look at the 7 tips below to give the best first impression and kick off 2016 to a great start.

#1 Clean out your emails

If you are anything like me, you probably have many unread emails sitting in your inbox. Take the time to sort through them and mark them as unread. It will help you to let go of last year and start fresh. Does anyone else love reaching inbox zero?? Click here for a useful article about keeping your inbox organised and here for a great Gmail tip   

#2 Organise your work space

Ensure your classroom is ready for the children and it feels welcoming, positive and inviting. There should be enough chairs and tables for the children and everything they will need should be there.

If you have a work space at home, clean it out and get everything ready for a new school year. Get rid of any clutter and dig out anything you need to start the year. Buy a pot plant or put up a motivational poster to brighten up the space and make it a nice place to be.

#3 Plan

Plan the first few days of school. Organise and plan all of the activities you are going to do in those first few days. Think about how you will set up the rules for the year, explain the behaviour management systems, set up a positive climate and what activities the students will complete.

#4 Buy a diary

Buy a diary and record important school dates to keep you organised. I just love the feeling of a brand new diary! Click herehere, here and here for some ideas.

#5 Rest!

Enjoy the holidays and truly rest. We all know that we could work forever and still never finish our work. Your students will know if you are rested and relaxed, so ensure that you take time for yourself, catch up with friends and family, read a book, take a bath, spend time with pets, go for a walk, go somewhere new – do whatever it is that you love to do!

#6 Get inspired

Learn something new! There are so many great books about education and a million interesting articles and blog posts on Twitter. Hop on and get reading to get inspired. I’m currently reading ‘Teach Like a Pirate’ – stay tuned for a blog post! Click here and here for more ideas.

#7 Set a goal and be positive

Were you feeling stressed last year? What wasn’t working? I always found myself feeling stressed on Sunday nights because I hadn’t prioritised well or organised my time very well over the weekend. This year I am aiming to set aside blocks of time during the weekend to get the important things done to avoid that horrible Sunday night panic.

I have also come across ‘Happify’. It has been scientifically designed to help people overcome negative thoughts and everyday stress through activities and games.  Click here or download the app today and give it a go!

Looking for more tips and tricks? Check out this fantastic article by Kris Carr – it’s a must read!

Enjoy the rest of your holidays and have a great 2016!

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Making a Difference

Capture“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou.

Above is a quote that you have probably heard many times before, but have you ever really thought about it?

 

 

Have you ever applied it to your daily life? Your family members? Your work colleagues? Your students?

Do you make your students (although this could be applied to anyone in your life) feel:

  • Inspired?
  • Motivated?
  • Supported?
  • Welcome?
  • Empowered?
  • Valued?
  • Loved?
  • Responsible?
  • Positive?
  • Happy?

This list could go on forever and each item means something different to each individual. They don’t necessarily require grand gestures, it could simply be getting to know a student and asking them about a sick pet, greeting the students with a warm ‘good morning’, complimenting them on their hard work, having a go or for a kind gesture you witnessed them perform, laughing with them or giving them a genuine smile.

Truly think about it – how do you make your students feel?

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Failure

FailureSo many adults are afraid of failure, myself included, but is it really that scary? What is it about failure that we are so afraid of? Is it that we think we will look silly or stupid? Do we have a need to be good at everything? Is it all tied in with our insecurities? Whatever the reason, the fear of failure is often present in our daily lives.

There are so many quotes about failure, including the following.

  • I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying – Michael Jordan.
  • My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure – Abraham Lincoln.
  • Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement – C.S. Lewis.
  • If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative – Woody Allen.
  • Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street – Zig Ziglar.
  • If you’re doing your best, you won’t have any time to worry about failure – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
  • Achievement is not always success, while reputed failure often is. It is honest endeavour, persistent effort to do the best possible under any and all circumstances – Orison Swett Marden.
  • Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again – Richard Branson.

Too often I see students who are so afraid of failing, whether that be getting an answer wrong in Mathematics or missing the soccer ball during sport, that they just don’t try to begin with. Inspired by the above quotes, I think it is really important that we let our students know that it is okay to fail. In fact, failure is a good thing and, dare I say, it’s actually fun to fail (Gretchen Rubin, 2011).

Teachers need to ensure that their students know that they don’t need to be good at everything and not only is failure a part of life, but it is an essential part of life. Put posters up around the classroom and refer back to them when you notice a student feeling afraid of failure, let your students know that you believe in them, share your mistakes and what you learnt from them, praise students for trying and giving something a gono matter the end result, and work with students to help them learn from their mistakes.

How do you accept and/or embrace failure?

How do you encourage your students to accept failure?

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Funny Side Up

SmileAll too often, I see teachers that neglect to notice the humour that goes on around them. As a teacher, I truly enjoy spending my day surrounded by children. They blurt out silly comments, make funny observations, pull funny faces and laugh at their own jokes

         FreeDigitalPhotos.Net / stockimages

Teaching can be very busy and stressful at times with so much to get through and so little time, however we can’t let that stop us from enjoying ourselves and as a result, encouraging our students to be happy. While I agree that there is a time and place for everything and the main purpose of school is to learn – teachers are able to build a positive environment and relationship with students if they laugh with them and let themselves see the funny side.

I realised how important this was to students when one of them said that I was always smiling and their previous teacher never smiled and in fact, they never heard her laugh. Now, this probably isn’t entirely truthful, but it’s what they all remembered.

I was surprised to see Australia’s position on the OECD’s latest PISA table, brought to my attention via this great post by Dan Haesler. It saddens me that children are unhappy at school. There are many reasons for this unhappiness; however, I believe that teachers can have a huge impact on a student’s happiness.   

I’m not saying that students should be allowed to make jokes throughout a Mathematics lesson, however take a look at the list below for some of the things that I have found to be useful.

  • Students should see their teacher smile and laugh.
  • Allow students time to share a brain teaser or joke.
  • Talk about something funny that happened to you on the weekend.
  • Allow the students to share their funny moments.
  • Be friendly (try saying good morning, have a good recess/lunch and good afternoon more often)
  • Start the day with a song or some music as the students unpack their bags and sit on the floor. My grade partner had the great idea of playing Happy each morning! The students love it, we dance as we get ready and we don’t need to constantly tell them to hurry up. 

How do you embrace humour with your students?

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The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project‘The Happiness Project’ is a book by Gretchen Rubin which I received for my birthday in January this year.

If you are looking for a new book to read – I strongly suggest this one (if you generally steer clear of the stereotypical self-help books, don’t worry, this is not one of them).

Since the moment I began  to read this book, it  motivated me, not only in my personal life, but also in my professional life.

Being happy is something that is really important to me. When we are happy we are better friends, parents, daughters, sons, wives, husbands, teachers and ultimately better people. There are so many quotes about happiness, below is a list of my top five:

  • “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions” – Dalai Lama.
  • “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be” – Abraham Lincoln.
  • “ I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For  I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our disposition” – Martha Washington
  • “The purpose of our lives is to be happy” – Dalai Lama
  • “Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself” – Alice Walker.

While genetics and life circumstances play a large role in our level of happiness, how a person thinks and acts can make a big difference. So how does this relate to teaching, you might ask? Well, I’d like you to think about how you act and think while you’re at work.

In her book, Gretchen Rubin helps you to achieve the following (and much more):

  • Do you greet your work colleagues in a friendly and upbeat manner each morning?
  • Do you smile at others as you pass them in the hall?
  • Do you act energetic even when you feel exhausted?
  • Do you complain a lot?
  • Do you expect praise or appreciation?
  • Do you ask for help?
  • Do you work smart?
  • Are you afraid of failure?
  • Do you enjoy the moment?
  • Do you find time to be silly?
  • Do you find time for fun?
  • Are you generous?
  • Are you grateful?
  • Do you laugh out loud?
  • Do you use good manners?
  • Are you positive?

The list is full of simple ideas. This year, Gretchen Rubin, has inspired me to work on many things, however these are my top three:

  1. Not expecting praise or appreciation – I have come to the realisation that, like Gretchen  Rubin, I like to receive gold stars, a pat on the back, for my good efforts. This year I’m going to try to not rely on or want a gold star, I want to feel the satisfaction from the task itself and not rely on others for my happiness – happiness is going to come from myself!
  2. Acting more energetic – I am going to strive to act energetic even on those days when I feel as though I don’t have the energy to get out of bed in the morning. ‘We often feel because of the way we act’ – Gretchen Rubin.
  3. Tackle nagging tasks – We so often put nagging or annoying tasks that need to be done to the side and they then cause us more worry than they actually should. I want to tackle those tasks as soon as I can, instead of putting them in a ‘do later’ pile.

As a new school year is drawing nearer, think about how you can be a happier person, and therefore, the best teacher you can be.

Less and More

What will you work on in 2014 to be happier?

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