It’s easy to find the bad and to the feel the stress of being an educator in today’s world. Our students are held to impossibly high standards that we are expected to teach to, our class sizes are getting increasingly larger and our support is getting amazingly smaller. It’s no wonder we spend most of our free time commiserating to fellow teachers, not talking about these realities at all, bottling up our frustration or just counting the days to the next weekend, break or vacation. Regardless of how we handle the pressures of being a 21st century educator, our ultimate hope and wish is that something will change for the profession we dreamed of being a part of since we were little and could only teach to a room full of our favorite stuffed animals. So consider this encouragement to any educator reading this who feels inspired to get involved to impact change on a local, state and federal level. We will be cheering you on from the trenches!
For the rest of us who feel inspired to stay in the classroom, there is something that you may want to start adding to your lesson plans that could help with counteracting the stress and negativity that may creep into your everyday thinking….try adding a column or a place to write down some gratitude. Now before you stop reading, this is not so that you ignore poor working conditions or a job that is no longer serving you. Only you can determine if your job is detrimental to your health.
However, many of us get stuck in the negativity loop and that tape is really difficult to turn off. So we don’t want to ignore issues that need to be addressed but it’s almost certain that not everything is all bad, all the time. So why not try practicing looking for things to be grateful for and writing them down during your day. Studies have shown that people who regularly practice gratitude may experience less stress and have stronger immune systems. These sound like pretty good reasons to try some gratitude. What’s the worst that can happen?
So create a column in your planning book or write in a little journal. Having these written records can double as inspiration when we are having a really bad day! If writing doesn’t work for you, just take a few moments to reflect on something you are grateful for but try to take the time to do this each day…maybe on your drive to school or on your way home. The more we practice the behavior, the more likely we will be to see the positive that can be hidden among certain seemingly negative situations. We may also be more likely to uncover some hidden gratitude we may have never realized lived among us.
With the world pounding negativity into every corner of our days, do yourself a favor and bring some lightness to it by reflecting on things that you are grateful for in your life. This probably will not fix every problem in your classroom and it certainly won’t solve the future of our education system but through practicing gratitude in our little corner of the world, we may start to see solutions that we overlooked before. When we start to exemplify and live this behavior, we start to impact our students. The world needs young people who can see the beauty among the chaos. The world needs us to be those role models for our students. Your students will be grateful that you added these moments to your day and the world may benefit from adding some gratitude to your lesson plans.
So what are you grateful for? Share it with someone in your life or share it in the space below. We’d love to hear those large and small pieces of gratitude so that we can inspire and support one another. For even more support in reducing stress and increasing teacher health and well-being consider signing up for our email list.