Picture a wholehearted teacher. What is the vision you have? What does that teacher do? What are her (or his) habits?
There are some very clear and consistent habits of teachers who have developed a wholehearted life. This post outlines the top 10 habits of wholehearted teachers. In my upcoming posts, I’m going to go into each habit in detail so that we can all start the school year with a more intentional effort around these ten habits.
What is a Wholehearted Teacher?
- are completely engaged but not overly wrapped up in her students’ lives
- set themselves up to succeed
- are healthy in mind, body, and soul
- have work/life balance without guilt
- understand and acknowledge their needs
- live their lives “on purpose”
- like to see others succeed
- don’t compare themselves to others
- laugh at themselves
- take risks and fail forward
- live in the present
- don’t try to get their needs met by their students, peers, or administrators
- and many more healthy traits
What habits do wholehearted teachers cultivate?
Below are the habits that wholehearted teachers cultivate in order to attain the life that they desire:
- Wholehearted Teachers Cultivate Balance: These teachers understand that work/life balance is critical to fighting burnout and living a more fulfilling (less resentful) life. They rule their lives – not their schedules. They are intentional with their time and prioritize things that bring them balance.
- Wholehearted Teachers Cultivate Self-Care: These teachers take care of themselves through intentional rest and play, exercise, relaxation and mindfulness. These teachers understand the value of taking care of themselves and why it pays dividends in their work with students.
- Wholehearted Teachers Cultivate Healthy Eating Habits: Wholehearted teachers understand the importance of the fuel they give their bodies – and plan accordingly. By creating a plan for healthy eating, these teachers set themselves up for success.
- Wholehearted Teachers Cultivate a Peaceful Environment: These teachers are organized, de-cluttered, and have systems in place that enable their work. All so that they can locate things quickly and have an efficient environment that works for them. These teachers also set the mood of their classroom and home to calm and refresh them.
- Wholehearted Teachers Cultivate Community: One of the most important elements of a wholehearted teacher is that they don’t go it alone. They lean on their team, their PLC (Professional Learning Community) usually at school, their PLN (Professional Learning Network) outside of school, and their Teacher Circle. They also lean heavily on non-teacher friends and family members to balance them out.
- Wholehearted Teachers Cultivate their Inner World: These teachers are aware of their thoughts, feelings, and gut reactions. They control their emotions instead of letting their emotions control them. They notice their emotions without judging them, and then evaluate the outcomes of their possible responses to stressful or anxious moments. They make decisions and wisely respond to the difficult moments instead of react.
- Wholehearted Teachers Cultivate Gratitude: These teachers are grateful daily. They truly acknowledge the strengths, talents, and gifts of others, and easily recognize when those gifts have been shared with them. They are grateful for their colleagues and their students. They appreciate kindness, thoughtfulness, and generosity. They never take things for granted and truly live in the moment.
- Wholehearted Teachers Cultivate their Passion: These teachers know what they love about their jobs. They align their passion with their values, and find frequent opportunities to practice their passion in and out of the classroom. They find ways to develop their skills and areas of passion in order to have a more fulfilled life. It goes without saying, but wholehearted teachers’ passion lies somewhere within their calling as a teacher – which helps them love and appreciate every day.
- Wholehearted Teachers Cultivate their Purpose: Since wholehearted teachers understand where their passion comes from, and have aligned their passion with their values, then their life – including their calling as a teacher – serves to live out what they see as their greater purpose for life. They are intentional and driven. They keep the long-term end-game in mind, and they don’t get distracted by politics.
- Wholehearted Teachers Cultivate Authenticity: A wholehearted teacher knows who she is. She acknowledges her flaws and her strengths. She is kind to herself and uses failures as a sign that she needs to adjust her practice – not that she herself is a failure. She seeks out opportunities for growth, and believes she can make a difference in all of her student’s lives. She understands her power, and embraces it. She doesn’t bring her own areas of inauthenticity or insecurity into work nor does she try to get unmet needs met by her peers, leaders, or students.
Sound amazing? Is this what you are striving for? Then tune in for the upcoming blog posts which will go through each of these in more depth.
Here is one more habit of wholehearted teachers – they don’t let how far they have to go stop them from making the first step. Right now, identify one or two of these that you do really well. Celebrate that! And then identify one or two that you want to work on in the next month. Don’t try to tackle all of them right away, but let one or two simmer at a time. Notice as you work on cultivating that habit what changes in your life.
I can’t wait to see how your life changes for the better!
~Alison, A Teacher’s Best Friend