Awesome teacher’s don’t just feel grateful what they have, they also show their gratitude. This is a dynamite combination that allows teachers who show it to benefit twice – to feel happier because they are grateful, and then benefit from act of showing the gratitude. The consequence of happier teachers is better work environments, and an atmosphere that attracts and inspires students.
What It Does For You
These eight ways are taken directly from Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book, The How of Happiness. I highly recommend it.
- “Grateful thinking promotes the savoring of positive life experiences.”
- “Expressing gratitude bolsters self-worth and self-esteem.”
- “Gratitude helps people cope with stress and trauma.”
- “Gratefulness during personal adversity like loss or chronic illness, as hard as that might be, can help you adjust, move on, and perhaps begin anew.”
- “The expression of gratitude encourages moral behavior.”
- “Gratitude can help build social bonds, strengthening existing relationships, and nurturing new ones.”
- “Expressing gratitude tends to inhibit invidious comparisons with others.”
- “The practice of gratitude is incompatible with negative emotions and may actually diminish or deter such feelings as anger, bitterness, and greed.”
How do these specifically relate to teaching? Research shows that work environments are some of the greatest indicators of whether a teacher stays at a particular location or not. Since that is the case, improving relationships with yourself, your students, and your coworkers, will increase your desire to continue working. Not only will you be happier, you will like your work better.
How To Do It
There is not a perfect way to do this. And frankly, you probably have an idea how to do this. But here’s some quick ideas to get the brainstorming started.
- Leave a quick note for your teacher assistants or janitor.
- Thank your principal for preparing the staff meeting (Hey, we all hate it but, it does take effort and time!)
- Slow down and appreciate your students when they are participating in an activity. Take some mental (or actual) pictures!
- Tell your students when they do something awesome, and actually say the words “thank you.”
- Make a grateful list and then refer back to it.
- Make a note of which parents have been putting in the extra time. Send them a quick thank you note.
- Take two hot cocoa packs, and two candy canes, and then tie them together. This should only cost $1 maybe. You might be able to go cheaper! Hand them out to bus drivers and/or parent volunteers.
Wrapping It Up
Showing gratitude is a fantastic way to increase your “awesome-ness” as a teacher. People and students will gravitate to you because you will be a positive force.
P.S. You can be grateful, and still advocate for things to change. Be grateful for what is good, be mindful of what needs improvement, and then be a force for change.