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How to Achieve Happiness as a Teacher in 2014

Janelle Cox

2013 has ended and now we begin our journey into a whole new year. There is something about the start of a New Year that brings us such possibility and opportunity. If your one to make a New Year’s Resolution, then maybe one of yours was to have sustainable happiness as a teacher. Research has shown that happy teachers make more effective teachers. Here we will take a look at a few things that will help you achieve happiness in the New Year.

Make your Choices Wisely

How a person chooses to behave (and their reactions) will dictate what their life will be like. According to Harry K. Wong in the book “How to Be an Effective Teacher,” there are three categories of behavior that people can exhibit, protective behaviors, maintenance behaviors, and enhancement behaviors.

Here we will take a quick look at each:

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  1. Protective Behavior – Individuals who exhibit this behavior are full of excuses, complain a lot, and are good at justifying their behavior. These are the people that are always in the teachers’ lounge complaining about everything that is happening in school.
  2. Maintenance Behavior – People who use maintenance behaviors are hardworking, do a lot of wishing (I wish I had a new car, I wish I won the lottery, I wish I had a bigger classroom) and get along great with others. These are the people that don’t complain or put people down when they are in the teachers’ lounge. They are concerned with their own survival, health and safety.
  3. Enhancement Behavior – Individuals who exhibit enhancement behaviors enjoy learning and participating. These are the people that go to every teacher conference and meeting, and are known around school as a leader. They are achievement-oriented and have a vision to enhance all that is around them.

Now that you know the difference between behaviors, which type of person do you choose to be in 2014? It’s a new year, for the new you.

Lower Your Expectations

You took days planning the perfect lesson, just to see it fail. This year, let go of the expectation to have every lesson you plan be excellent. If a lesson flops, think if it as a lesson learned. Some of the best lessons learned are the ones that are the most memorable. We teach our students to learn from our mistakes, right? Use this opportunity as a lesson learned.

Take Time for Your Personal Life

Teachers take so much of their personal time planning and researching that they sometimes neglect their friends and family. This year, make the time for your family. Set aside a few hours on one day to plan or research upcoming lessons. Do not spend every night on your computer when you can be playing with your children.

Do Not Compare Yourself to Others

It’s hard not to compare yourself to others when we have Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest in our lives. Have you seen some of these posts? I can’t even imagine how long it must take some of those teachers to create these perfect-looking lessons! This year, let go of comparing yourself to others and focus on what you enjoy doing the best. There will always be someone better, or more experienced than you. Just know that you are doing your best and have that be enough to make you happy.

How will you achieve sustainable happiness as a teacher this year? Which behavior do you mostly exhibit? Please share with us in the comment section below! We would love to hear your thoughts. 

Janelle Cox is an education writer who draws on her 15 years of professional experience in the education system. Janelle holds a master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, where she provides educational information and lesson plans for teachers around the globe.