Celebrating The Joys of Teaching on International Day of Happiness

During these uncertain times, it can be easy to slip into negative thoughts, but for this International Day of Happiness I've rounded up from teachers some of the reasons we love teaching! Here are some motivating reminders to get you through the dark days.

Photo of balloons with text, "Celebrating The Joys of Teaching on International Day of Happiness"

Happy International Day of Happiness!!

I know that in the midst of a pandemic it is hard to shake the stress and uncertainty that we're surrounded with right now, but what better reason to think about the reasons we love teaching!

I reached out to my email subscribers and asked them to share some of the joys of teaching. I hope these bring a smile to your face!

I had a student a few years ago who really struggled academically, especially with reading. This was his first year at our school. It was obvious that at his other school, he was just falling through the cracks. He had no self-confidence, so that’s what I worked on first. Any time he had to work on an assignment independently, I would remind him what a great reader he was and how hard he has been working. By the end of the year, his confidence and reading level improved. The next year, he wrote me the sweetest note, thanking me for always loving him and helping him learn to read. So it’s the little things that students notice and remember about their teachers. Students will thank us when admin doesn’t even notice us. That’s what’s important! - Kim B.

I had a student come back after he graduated and thank me for all we did for him. Honestly, I didn't think he would ever graduate, but we never gave up on him. He was the one student that we thought would hurt other kids. We poured our heart and soul into his years in our school. He has since completed Basic Training and is a valued member of our local workforce. - Mrs. P. 

When you've been working on a particular skill or concept, the class has been struggling, and a few students are super frustrated. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, a light bulb goes off, and you see that face - the huge smile, the bright eyes, the joy, the confidence, the success. They've got it. They understand. They feel like they are on top of the world. And so do you. - Wendy

Now, more than ever, I love teaching. I walk into my classroom, away from the larger worries of the world, and focus wholeheartedly on guiding children to become the best thinkers, explorers, and problem-solvers they can be. It doesn't mean we ignore what is happening in the world around us; rather, we look at the world with different eyes. We look from a different perspective - one that assumes the best in others, that recognizes problems as an opportunity to solve something together, and that appreciates infinite possibilities in our shared future. I can't imagine doing anything else! The sparks that fly in those moments of "aha" or "what about?" or "see how that's like" - they feed my soul. In the crazy world of negativity and discord these days, I find hope and joy in the moments I share with students. - Lynn Dixon

Each year our school board awards medals to special education students who have experienced success in a certain area of school life. This year, I nominated a student that has never been recognized for achievement - EVER! The nomination has changed the trajectory of this student; from the moment he heard he was nominated and read his nomination to his classmates, his behaviour has changed. His attitude, his words, and especially his ability to self-regulate. I love how something we think is small can literally change a student's life. - Cheryl Kennedy-Griffiths

It isn't just one story, it's all the moments that I bond with my students. We form relationships that declare to those children, "you matter so much to me that I have committed my life to showing up and showing you how to do your best." However, there was the little first grader back in my first year (1994) who made a piece of ceramic art for mothers' day. He handed it to me, and I gave it back, saying "this is for your mom for mothers' day." He handed it back and said, "I think of you like my mom. I don't have one." Ugh. So sweet and so honest and so loving- and it meant that he knew I cared for him. - Annie O.

I moved schools 2 years ago, thinking it was time for a change. I also switched divisions, and it turned out to be quite a leap. What the move showed me was that no matter the grade, my students will continue to challenge me and stretch my skills in all the best ways. My students help me see my own areas of strength and opportunity, and I NEVER live the same day twice. I truly have the BEST job, and I say that to anyone who asks. - Tracey D.

After teaching for 30 years, I can’t pick one happy story...there are too many. The happiest part of my job is watching a student’s joy when they have that moment of understanding, and suddenly everything makes sense. - Nancy

When a student finally gets a concept with which they have been struggling, to see that look in his or her eyes as it clicks has been the most amazing and best part of being a teacher. - Mrs. Parrish

I love teaching math, especially those a-ha moments. My students were trying to give me "I'm not good at math," and I told them that they're just not good at it yet. Having a safe space for them to inquire about math and be curious about certain things has been a godsend. They're grasping concepts better than ever before. Allowing them to be wrong and understanding why has been so powerful in the classroom. My students understand that failure isn't necessarily a bad thing, and it spills over into other aspects of their student lives. I find them better able to problem solve than ever before. I love the enthusiasm, creativity, and spirit my kiddos bring each and every day. I love that I get to be a safe person for them away from home. I hope my students know the love and joy they bring each day and how much love and joy I try to give back.  - Coleen

Thank you to all the teachers who contributed their love of teaching for this post. I'd love to be able to share them all, but I'd be here all day! I know you have stories to share, and now is the time to do it! We could all use a smile right now. Please share a story in the comments below, or contact me here to share your thoughts in an email.

I hope all of you stay healthy over the coming weeks! Take care.

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Photo of balloons with text, "Celebrating The Joys of Teaching on International Day of Happiness"

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