School’s Starting…Come on and Get Happy :)

14 Aug

Kids come in 5 days, but we officially started professional development today in my district, and most teachers I know have been in their classroom yesterday or last week (or never left.)  That’s not to count the scores of “had the worst back-to-school-nightmare-yet!” popping up on facebook from all of my teacher friends.

The beginning of the year brings equal parts hopeful anticipation and doom and gloom.  We’re so excited to see our kids and reconnect with colleagues…and we’re so bummed to have to be setting the alarm and thinking about our homework policies.

What’s a teacher to do?  We could stand around and do the B-word all day (bemoan, according to a 5th grade teaching colleague.  They’re always using such great vocabulary words in 5th grade).  Or we could try to proactively add a little positivity into our lives.

This article, titled 10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier, Back by Science popped up on my facebook feed today.  I recognize many of the suggestions from other happiness research (exercise, sleep more, etc) one of them stood out to me.

Number 4 is about spending more time with friends and family.  It goes on to say that the basis of what makes people happy is all about relationships, so if you think taking vacations makes you happy, what you might really mean is that spending time with friends and family or meeting new people makes you happy.  Or if a promotion makes you happy (in the long run) it’s probably because you like the people you work with.

relationships

Relationships have been getting a lot of press recently, from the importance in the student-teacher relationship, to their importance in spreading ideas, even to their role in staving off dementia.  If we want to work on strengthening one thing in our lives, our interactions with other people would be a good one to pick.

istockphoto_Happy_Teacher_247169

Teachers work on relationships with their students all the time, but relationships with each other can be just as important.  And not just for collaboration and improving our practice.  Good relationships with colleagues blunts some of the isolation inherent in teaching–it can actually make you happier.  And while I don’t have scientific evidence to back this up, a happier teacher must be a better teacher.

So go ahead and cluster in the hallway or pop by a friends room for a few minutes.  Those extra moments do lengthen our day, but small chats help change the school from just a job to a community.  And really, who else is going to appreciate your 150th story of what Timmy pulled off today quite like your teammates?

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