By Teachers, For Teachers
Well-being is the state of being comfortable, it’s the feeling of being happy and content in your life. Having good mental health and great satisfaction for your life and career can help you flourish and function more effectively. Teaching is a demanding job, and having the ability to navigate your way through all of the highs and lows, as well as being able to be resilient and productive, can have a positive impact on your life. While taking the time to look after yourself may seem challenging, it is worth it. Every positive step that you take toward better well-being (and your own teacher wellness) will have a significant impact on your life.
Look at your life both inside and outside of the classroom and write down all of the things that are going well. When you look back at your achievements and accomplishments, it will make you feel good. Every positive thing that you write down will help keep you moving in a more positive direction.
Practicing gratitude is a great way to build up your overall well-being. In fact, it has health benefits. Dr. Robert Emmons, the world’s leading expert on the power of gratitude, found that people who kept a gratitude journal (or jar) were more optimistic, had fewer health issues, and were overall happier in life. Every day write down as many things as you can think of that you are grateful for, then watch as your mood changes for the better.
Just like practicing gratitude, savoring moments is also said to have a positive effect on your happiness. In fact, the ability to savor the present moment is linked to higher self-esteem. Take a moment each day and look around your classroom and try and savor every moment that you can, it will make you happier.
Administration can help to build teacher wellbeing by establishing mentor programs. Mentor programs help new teachers feel confident and secure in their teaching job. When you know that someone is always there for you and has your back, it will make you feel good.
Positive feedback is yet another way to build teacher well-being. Giving positive feedback is a great way to encourage teachers to continue to work hard. It also not only helps to provide a foundation for a positive teacher/administrator relationships, but it also makes teachers feel good when they know they are being recognized for their work.
Whether you do something kind for someone else or they do it for you, it feels good. Challenge teachers to participate in random acts of kindness throughout their day. You can even post a kindness scavenger hunt in the teachers’ lounge for teachers to participate in (give a compliment, hold the door for someone, say thank you).
If you want to increase your overall teacher wellbeing, then you need to set goals or implement what you love into your everyday life that relates to your passion and interests. For example, if you love sports, then find a way to implement them into your lessons. When you do something that you love each day, you’ll feel good.
If you’re not sure what your strengths are, then take a survey to find out. A simple self-assessment is a great way to give you information to help you understand your personality and character traits. The more information that you have on yourself, the easier it’ll be for you to utilize what you’re good at.
A great way to empower teachers and build their overall well-being is to acknowledge their accomplishments. In fact, research shows that when you increase teacher empowerment, you also increase teacher morale, and when teachers are happy, they tend to be more productive.
An effective strategy to help acknowledge teachers is to create an awards tree in the teachers’ lounge. Recognizing and awarding teachers is a great way to show your gratitude and recognition of their hard work and dedication to the job.
Finding a state of contentment and happiness each day as a teacher may seem like a challenging thing to do, given you’re with children and so busy all day long. However, it is possible when you take a moment to practice mindfulness. All you need to do is take a minute or two and just listen to your breath or the sound of the birds outside. The more peaceful moments you give yourself throughout the day, the more relaxed and in a state of contentment you’ll become.
Remind yourself why you became a teacher and what you’re overall purpose is. Ask yourself “What is my role?” Think about what is important to you and let that you drive you each day. When you have meaning and purpose in life, you’ll be happier.
Teacher self-care and well-being is important because teachers who are happy and content will inspire their students to flourish. They’ll also be more productive at their job and in their lives. When you’re able to have a balanced life both inside and outside of the classroom, you will not only be valuable to your students and everyone else around you, but to yourself as well.
Why do you think teacher well-being is important?
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, Graduateprogram.org, 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.