Tag Archives: Happiness

Tired? Exhausted? I hear you.

ID-10089545As a teacher, and like many teachers I know, I find that I am often feeling exhausted. (Image: imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.Net)

The first chapter of Gretchen Rubin’s ‘The Happiness Project’, suggests the following:

  • Go to sleep earlier (ensure that you get the recommended 8 hours of sleep each night)
  • Exercise (go for a walk, there are also great (free) apps that you can download e.g. The 7 minute workout)
  • Organise the clutter in your house
  • Tackle the nagging tasks that you always leave to do later
  • Act more energetic

Click here for more tips from Gretchen Rubin.

Things that also help me:

  • Listen to your favourite upbeat song while you’re getting ready and/or on your way to/from work
  • Stop complaining about how tired you are – it only brings yourself and others down.
  • Ensure you allow time in your day to relax and shut off from work – it might be an hour before you go to bed to watch a TV show or getting up an hour earlier to go for a walk or read the paper.
  • Take time out to read for pleasure.
  • If you have lunch to prepare, prepare it the night before.
  • Laugh out loud.
  • Be realistic and break tasks down into smaller jobs
  • Remember that it is okay to ask for help
  • Remember that not everything has to be perfect
  • Be nice to everyone around you
  • Make time to talk to positive family members or friends
  • Find something nice in every student in your class.
  • Think about the happiest moment in your day, every day.
  • Make peace with the fact that a teacher’s work is NEVER done.

Gretchen Rubin also talks about energizers and de-energizers in her blog. Click here to read about energizers and de-energizers and take the test!

Do you have any tips or tricks that help you when you’re tired and feeling run down?

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Filed under Teaching, Wellbeing

A Positive Classroom

Teachers have a very long list of responsibilities, including helping their students to feel positive about themselves. There are simple things a teacher can do to affirm the students in their class which can make a huge impact on each student.

  • When speaking to your students, use their name.
  • Always greet your students and show that you are happy to see them.
  • Make your students feel important.
  • Admit that you make mistakes, accept their mistakes and allow for an unlimited amount of fresh starts.
  • Avoid labelling your students.
  • Praise, praise praise! Both verbal and written, students love praise and it encourages them to complete work to the best of their ability. From K to year 6, praise makes a world of difference. Focus your praise particiularly when students have had a go and when they have produced their best work.
    • Brilliant work!
    • Excellent work!
    • Clever answer!
    • You should be proud of yourself!
    • I enjoyed reading that!
    • Your work is always a pleasure to read.
    • Fantastic improvement!
    • I can see the effort you put into this!
    • That’s a great effort!
  • Praise equally – try not to leave any student out. Find something each student does well and let them know!
  • At the end of each day, praise the class as a whole.
  • Always speak optimistically to the students.
    • ‘Don’t use such long sentences’ vs. ‘Good try. Try to add more full stops and new sentences next time’.
    • ‘No’ vs. ‘try again’/’good try’.
  • Always speak politely.
  • Avoid favouritism and avoid discrimination.
    • This may be unintentional and overlooked.
    • Give students a small piece of paper each and ask them to write their name on it and tally each time you ask them for an answer to a question and/or compliment them. At the end of the week you can see if your attention was divided equally among the class and if any students were left out. This allows you to self-reflect.
  • Never give up on a student.
  • Smile at the students.
  • Accept every contribution and answer.
    • Acknowledge that the student had a go by saying ‘good try’, ‘try again’ or ‘close”. After all, it’s tough putting yourself out there and sharing an answer!

How do you keep your classroom positive?

Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Filed under 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?

 

References

Long, J. (2000). Lecture 9: Preventing Misbehaviour [PowerPoint]. Retrieved from http://blackboard.acu.edu.au/webct/cobaltMainFrame.dowebct

Thobhani, S. (2011). Boosting Emotional Intelligence in your Classroom. Retrieved from http://www.creativeeducation.co.uk/blog/index.php/2011/05/boosting-emotional-intelligence-in-your-classroom/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Twitter&utm_campaign=Jobs

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Filed under Behaviour Management, Teaching Strategies