5 Practices to Teach with Joy
We're coming off a hard year and still have so many unknowns ahead. How can we navigate this coming year and teach with joy?
This episode will empower you with practical action steps to make joyful teaching (and LIVING!) within your reach. God wants us to find joy in the everyday and you will learn how to do that with regular routines, practical problem solving, and identifying joy killers.
1. Start your day with beautiful routines
We are at our school to give the Lord glory and starting our day with a beautiful routine helps our mindset to be in the right place to teach with joy. Here are some ideas:
2. Keep the chaos at bay
There have been multiple studies about how chaos and clutter trigger stress hormones in us, especially if you are a woman. If you have child(ren) over the age of 3 and/or a spouse, you can start delegating! Everyone in your home can work together as a team. Whiteboards and corkboards all over the house can help with organizing things- keeping the shopping list updated, assigning chores, etc.
Boundaries are hard to set, but are very important for keeping the chaos at bay. If you are asked to do something, set a date in the future to help with that task.
Setting classroom procedures helps everything run smoothly. Delegate tasks to your students in the classroom as well. Just as you would declutter at home, declutter at school. If you need help with decluttering and minimizing, check out the blog post Simplify Your Teacher Life With a Minimalist Approach.
3. Identify and change your thinking about joy killers
No matter how much you plan and prepare for each school day, how long you’ve been teaching, or how great your morning routine is- there is always that one student, that one class, that one day, that one week, or that one year that brings extra challenges. My students' behavior used to determine if I had a good day or a bad day. That was not fair to me OR my students! Here’s what I learned from one very challenging class period:
- The rough moments are the times when I can show the love of Christ the most.
- There is nothing that grows my joy more than “being an imitator of God.” (Ephesians 1:5)
- Grace does not mean allowing misbehavior.
- Consistency is really important.
- My bad mood only makes me a “target” for students (especially older students).
- I get to choose how I respond.
- Rough moments are GOLD. (James 1)
- Separate the students from the behavior.
To counteract the joy killers, "be where your feet are." That means being present in the moment. Learn from yesterday, but don’t live there. Each day needs a fresh start and your students need your full presence.
4. bring in the good stuff
Gratitude is a practice that goes so far. Bring it into your classrooms and help your students recognize it, too.
It’s also important to practice self-care. What do you do to take care of yourself? Take time for your hobbies, whatever it is that you enjoy. Bring what you enjoy into the classroom, so that your teaching is authentically YOU. Maybe that means bringing in music or talking about your family. Spend time with your friends. Get the amount of sleep your body needs. Finally, spend time in nature!
5. Pivot any time you need to
Do not let shame hold you back. Be brave and make the changes you need to. Listen to the Holy Spirit's leading. When you do that, it shows others what big things God is doing in your life. Sometimes you have to pivot to teach with joy!
This podcast episode was originally a summit session at our 2020 Rise Up Christian Educator's Summit. We are happy to announce that we have another Rise Up Christian Educator's Summit coming up in October 2021. You can register for free to attend now at: 2021 Rise Up Christian Educator's Summit.
If you enjoyed hearing from Sarah, she is one of our mentors in the Teach4theHeart Mentorship Program. To hear more about the mentorship program and get free tips to help you enjoy learning with your students, check out the free training: How to Reach Every Student Without Sacrificing Your Sanity.
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