By Teachers, For Teachers
Not everyone is going to be happy all of the time, and that’s OK, but you can use classroom management techniques to help create a happy learning atmosphere. Here are a few suggestions on how to use classroom management to boost your students’ moods, so you’ll have a joyful, cheerful and content learning environment.
When you spend the majority of your time focusing on how to best educate your students, it’s easy to forget what makes them happy. You must remind yourself that your students are feeling the pressure, too, and sometimes they need you to just ease up on them and incorporate things that’ll make them happier. Here are a few classroom management ideas.
Humor is a great way to incorporate happiness into your learning environment. Any opportunity that you get to use humor in your classroom, do it. You don’t have to be a comedian or even be funny to use humor -- all you have to do is use it. Tell a joke or share a funny story, or come in to school with a funny hat or mask on. You can even designate a special day of the week as silly hat or joke day.
Another way to make your students happy is to use classroom management to incorporate things that they like into your lessons. If you do the same lessons every day, it can get monotonous and boring, but if you intertwine things that students love, like technology, sports, and games, class will be less boring, and the students will even be happily engaged in their work.
Don’t work your students so hard that they feel unhappy. Set aside time every 20-30 minutes for a brain break to help re-energize them. Research has proven that students learn best when they are given the opportunity to rest their brain throughout the day. The purpose of a brain break is to refocus students so they will learn better. After each lesson or activity, take the time to give students a quick break. All it takes is five minutes and you will definitely see a happy classroom.
First and foremost, you must take care of yourself before you can take care of others. You may have heard the saying about how it’s important to put the needs of others before yourself, and while that can be very true, new research is coming out every day about why self-care should be a priority. When you’re always running around taking care of everyone else (like what most teachers do), and putting the needs of your students before your own, you won’t have anything left for yourself. That’s why self-care is so important. If you feel that you need a mood makeover, then there are a few things that you can do. According to research, if you pick an approach that works for you, you can go from feeling blue to feeling happy in a matter of seconds. Here are a few ideas on to boost your own happiness.
Teachers often isolate themselves in their classrooms, which can leave them feeling pretty lonely. Your students are not your friends or your colleagues -- you can’t tell them about the rough day you’re having with your students or how you marriage is going. So instead of taking your lunch break in your classroom by yourself, go to the faculty room and socialize with your colleagues. Studies have found that the more time people spend socializing with other people, the better they feel.
Whether it’s big or small, for someone you know or for someone you don’t know, doing a good deed will boost your happiness. Research shows that the more you do for others, the better you will feel. Any kind of selfless act will have a positive effect. This can be something as small as allowing one of your students to make up a test, bringing in cookies for a colleague, or even just offering to watch your colleague’s classroom while they leave to make photocopies. Any selfless gesture will help to boost your mood.
Happy teachers make effective teachers, that’s why it’s so important that you find an approach that works for you. Focus on your own happiness first, then focus on how to best make your students happy next. Luckily, we all have the ability to control our emotions, and with enough practice we can find ways to boost our mood as well as the ones around us.
What are your strategies for creating a happy learning environment for your students? Do you have any go-to methods that work well in your classroom?
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a master’s of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the elementary education expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.