Helping Teachers Make a Difference in the Lives of Their Students

Thank Your Class – Teach Happier Strategy #1

It’s been a while since I’ve added a post on SITC. Sorry. I do have a good excuse, however. I have been working on a new book. It’s a book that shares strategies that can allow teachers to teach happier.

I have been reading like crazy on the topics of success and happiness, and I’ve discovered that they are connected, but not in the way that I used to believe.

I used to believe that happiness was a byproduct of success. I used to believe that once I achieved success in an area of my life, I would then be happier. Once I got that promotion or once I bought a new car or once I got that degree, I would be happy.

What I’ve learned, however, is that I had it all wrong.

According to recent studies in the area of positive psychology, success comes AFTER happiness. In Shawn Achor’s amazing book, The Happiness Advantage, he shares study after study that demonstrates that “success revolves around happiness,” and not the other way around. So, our focus needs to be on finding happiness, and when we do, success will result.

I have implemented many of the strategies that I have learned from Shawn’s book and others, and it has been amazing! I have seen an incredible change in my life, not only in education, but in my personal life as well. For that reason, I am so excited to be sharing some of these strategies with the readers of this blog and the listeners of my podcast.

Since success in the classroom is our ultimate goal with this blog, I believe that sharing what I’m learning about the impact that happiness has on success should be part of what I do here.

I’ve begun the process of compiling specific strategies that I’ve learned from my readings that will help teachers find more happiness, and as a result more success. My goal is to publish a book sometime in the beginning of 2017 where I share these strategies. I call it, Teach Happier – 20 Strategies to Help Teachers Love What They Do Even More! There’s a link below where you can get on the Early Bird list to be notified when the book is available.

In this post, I want to share one of the strategies that I believe will help you teach happier. I call it – Thank Your Class.

Thank Your Class – Teach Happier Strategy #1

This is one strategy that I wish I had used more often when I was a teacher. There is power in gratitude. We all like when our efforts are noticed and appreciated. Right? When we don’t get that “thank you,” we get a little irritated, and we lose our motivation to want to be helpful again. It’s part of our human nature. When we do get a little bit of appreciation, we are more likely to want to continue to be helpful, at least that’s how I feel. I suspect most people share that same feeling.typorama

So, it’s not that difficult to believe that our students are also motivated by appreciation. That’s why we are quick to say, “Thank you,” to that student who picked up the trash off the floor or who helped a fellow student with their books. As teachers, we model appreciative behavior when we see positive behaviors. We need to keep doing that.

What I’m encouraging you do in this post, however, to is to make a special effort to include a moment of gratitude in your daily routine. Some time in your class, stop the lesson, and show some appreciation to your class as a whole.

“Guys, before you leave, I just want to say thank you for another great day. You helped make today so easy for me. You were respectful and you worked hard. That means a lot to me. I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate you.”

Focus on what you want to have repeated. “Recognize what you want repeated.” I don’t know who said that, but it’s good advice.

I can almost guarantee that you will get a group of students replying, “Well, thank you for teaching us.”

It’s amazing how a little bit of sincere gratitude can make a world of difference.

I know what you’re asking, “What if the class was not respectful nor working hard? How can we appreciate that?”

Thank them anyway. Yes, don’t miss out on the opportunity to use gratitude to create change.

“Hey guys, before you go, I just want to say thank you for hanging in there with me today. I know things got a little rough, and it wasn’t one of our best days, but I appreciate you doing your best to make it work. I’m going to do everything I can to make tomorrow a better day for all of us, but for hanging in there with me today, I want to say thank you.”

Give it a try. I dare you.

It will be tougher to be grateful when things to be grateful for are scarce, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find something to add to your gratitude list. Yes, Johnny was especially disruptive today, but every other student in the class was on task. Yes, the fire drill messed up the lesson plan, but the students lined up quickly and quietly. It’s easy to find the negative in what we do. What will give us the ability to teach happier is making a conscious decision to look for the positive in what we do. Thanking your class will force you to look for that positive.

Give it a try, and let me know what happens.

This is one of the strategies that will be included in my upcoming book, Teach Happier – 20 Strategies to Help Teachers Love What They Do Even More!
Sign up to be notified when the book is available at TeachHappier.com.

Until next time, here’s to your Success in the Classroom!

 

Sam

 

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