Happiness in the workplace! Where does it come from? Our leaders? Ourselves? What do we need in order to thrive as a teacher and leader? Whose responsibility is it to ensure our happiness in the workplace?
In my opinion, our happiness is up to US! We have control over whether or not we come into our building to teach children with happiness and joy in our hearts. Happiness doesn’t necessarily come from WHAT we do, but HOW we FEEL when we are doing it! Why do people get into teaching in the first place? Does it bring us joy? Are we putting ourselves in a position to be happy everyday? Don’t get me wrong, choosing to be happy isn’t always easy (and quite frankly, I sometimes fail). However, once we make the decision to do so, our day will run much smoother. Our perceptions of the cloudy skies change into a positive and we can enter our school building with a little more pep in our step.
On the contrary, we do have moments in our lives where we need to overcome adversity and choosing happiness is a difficult task. As teachers, we are often pressured to have a smile on our face and feel and act happy all of the time, therefore, we stuff our real feelings so we can get through the day. However, it is imperative that we deal with the stressors and emotions that are consuming us, otherwise the downward spiral begins! It is okay to feel bad sometimes, but the most important part is to acknowledge those feelings. Simply saying, “I am stressed, I am overwhelmed, I am malfunctioning,” can help us deal with what is getting in our way and understand what is making us feel this way.
So, how does the concept of happiness translate into curriculum? I feel like this should be a no brainer, but if you are choosing to be happy, then you are going to deliver your curriculum in a more positive manner finding meaningful connections to the material. These connections will then improve your students academic performance and create more healthful relationships between yourself and your students. This happiness translates into more purposeful work in the classroom regardless of the demands that are placed upon us outside the classroom. I have found that if we take risks within our curriculum, reinvigorate our sense of purpose, and rediscover our curricular goals, we can get back to our purpose of why we became a teacher and maintain a high level of happiness.