The 5 Rules Every Happy Teacher Follows
Rule #1: Don’t look at discomfort as a negative.
Teaching is hard, and it should be. If you are doing it well, it means you are actively pursuing and working towards getting 100% of your students engaged, 100% of the time. That takes a relentless pursuit of continuous growth that will include making mistakes, failing, and feeling challenged beyond your capability. This is uncomfortable but oddly enough, it is that exact discomfort that will propel us further.
Rule #2: Respectfully avoid negativity with positive framing.
I know there are days when it seems like none of your students are listening, or when you feel like you just can’t possibly meet district expectations, the demands of the classrooms AND have a life! It’s easy to get caught up in the negativity, especially when you feel a lot of pressure. It’s important that all adults in a school embrace an empowered mindset and a perspective of hope, optimism, and determination to make a positive difference in the lives of their students. Remember, each day starts fresh and thinking positively, staying away from the negativity and assuming the best in others. This outlook will give you a solutions-oriented perspective versus one that may perseverate and exasperate a problem-focused state.
Rule #3: Establish clear procedures and routines.
We have all heard this before, but it’s SO important. Go back and really look at your routines and procedures again. Go through them in the perspective of your student and talk it out with a colleague. In fact, do that for each other! When routines and systems are consistent, students appreciate and respond to the feeling of familiarity and stability in their teacher and their classroom. This sense of safety and dependability establishes a foundation of trust, setting the stage for those life-altering relationships that are pivotal to their success.
Rule #4: Take care of yourself.
YOU matter! You have to take care of yourself so you can take care of your students. The pursuit of 100% engagement, 100% of the time means there will never truly be a “perfectly planned lesson” or that there isn’t more you could be doing to reach more students at a deeper level. However, if you don’t prioritize your own health and get the sleep you need, as well as the nourishment your body requires, you will run yourself into a losing battle.
Rule #5: Reflect daily, but DON’T STEW.
Written daily reflection will give you insight into what has been happening and how you can continue to push yourself for your students. Your consciousness of growth will define your progress. Write and reflect, but avoid overthinking. Get a little notebook or record your reflections on your phone…even five minutes will help you process your day and think about what tomorrow can bring. A reflective educator is a transformational one.
By Heidi Towne, CT3 Associate
For further reading:
- Top 8 Tips for New Teachers (that you probably haven’t considered)
- 4 Ways to Improve Teacher Experience
- A Note for Teachers: How to Get Support from Your Administrator
Click here to find out how to take our 6-8 hour, self-paced online course to up your student engagement, classroom management, and classroom culture game.