Laughing is a free tool that can be used in any setting.
I was never told as a teacher to smile or laugh more. I was never told to take a break or slow down either. I was told “Great job, Stephen” and “Stephen, you’re really making an impact”. All of that is fine and dandy in the beginning, but after 6 years it becomes like an old CD being played over and over. I thought teaching was supposed to be fun and rewarding. Now, I understand there will be many days that teaching is a nightmare filled with headaches that no $50,00 or $60,000 salary can fix. The reasons why I was able to last so long in the behavior unit working with students with so many challenges were because of the will to laugh and have fun. I wasted water on so many lesson plans and ARD binders that you would’ve thought I was sabotaging my entire career. I learned quickly to laugh at my mistakes and all the L’s that occurred throughout the day. Yes, this could be seen as a coping mechanism. The goal was to remind myself that I deserve to laugh while also making an impact. I could make mistakes while still empowering my students. I wonder if you have taken time out to just let out a good laugh or crack a smile to show those pearly whites. And for those of you who enjoy research, it's been proven that smiling at yourself can lift and change your mood. Go look in the mirror right now and make a silly face, you can’t help but to laugh. Laughing is a free tool that can be used in any setting. And let’s face it, we can all use a laugh these days. No one is above finding peace and joy and if they say otherwise, then maybe they’ve forgotten what it is to be happy. Teachers deserve to feel happy, not just be resilient. Yes, resilience as an educator is needed, but that doesn’t replace happiness. No one wakes up and says, “I hope I’m not happy today”, that’s not reality. Reality is that every day won’t be the best, but it also doesn’t have to be the worst. I challenge you to laugh more while you’re teaching. Share a joke with your students or better yet, ask them to tell you a joke and hope for the best, lol. So, how did I make it as a special education teacher so long? I started laughing more while impacting our next generation.