Happy Teacher Series: How to Accept Imperfection

No one is perfect, but that doesn't make it any easier to accept. Check out these tips on how to accept imperfection and be a happier teacher.
No one is perfect, but that certainly doesn't make it any easier to accept the imperfections that we face on a daily basis. As teachers especially we strive for perfection, and it can be a real bummer when we fall short. It is important to remember though that just because we aren't perfect does not mean that we can't be happy.

In fact, the happiest teachers have learned to accept their imperfections and those of others. Instead of dwelling on what isn't right in their classrooms and lives they celebrate what is! Many happy teachers share the same qualities when it comes to dealing with imperfections and you can too!

Happy Teachers Are Grateful 

Each and every one of us has so much to be grateful for every day of our lives. In general we have a lot going well for us. We have a career that is incredibly meaningful, the adoration of our students, and for the most part the best colleagues in the world. 

We need to remember to take time to be thankful for all that is right in our lives and classrooms. An easy way to do this is to start each morning by listing three things that you are thankful for. This list might include things inside and outside of the classroom. I always invited my students to join me in this practice. It was a great way to start off the day on a positive note, and I was able to learn a lot about my students in the process. 

Being grateful does not mean that you overlook what isn't right, it just means that you are able to move on from it and not dwell. 

Happy Teachers Get Perspective

No one is perfect, but that doesn't make it any easier to accept. Check out these tips on how to accept imperfection and be a happier teacher. Nothing in life is all good or all bad. When we take the time to put what is bothering us into perspective we get the chance to prioritize what really matters to us. This might mean reevaluating something that we previously thought was really important and placing it below something that has risen to the top. 

If you are having trouble getting perspective talk it out with your friends and colleagues. They will be able to shine a new light on what your perceived problem is, offer suggestions, or let you know that it isn't something you need to worry about. 

This is especially important for teachers because we have a tendency to get caught up on something that in the big scheme of things is not a big deal. I am especially guilty of this. I tend to really hone in on one particular thing, and if it isn't perfect I just don't know what to do with myself. It wasn't until I spoke with my teammates about it that they let me know I was stressing out over something that really didn't affect my students, so it was time to move on. 

As teachers we think we have to have it all together all the time, and this just isn't true. Check out these tips to stop pretending you have it all together

Happy Teachers Use Imperfections for Growth

Of course, as much as I would like to tell you that all of my imperfections were things that I just needed to let go of, that wouldn't be true. There are in fact many areas where I am nowhere near perfect that I need to work on.

Instead of getting bogged down in the imperfection, try to think of  it as an area of personal growth. Think about when you are asked about your weaknesses in an interview. Do you spout out something that would be detrimental, or do you use a weakness that can have a positive spin? I hope you do the latter otherwise we need to talk about interview skills next!

By thinking of personal imperfections as a chance for growth you are helping yourself. You can set goals that are achievable and then bask in the glory that is personal and professional development.

Happy Teachers Aren't Afraid to Laugh at Themselves

Sometimes we do things that are silly, or beyond silly. Sometimes the things we do are just plain dumb. Don't stress yourself out over it. Try instead to laugh at yourself and then move forward. 

This is yet another way that we can set an example for our students. By showing them that it is okay to laugh at your mistakes and have a sense of humor when it comes to messing up we show them our growth mindset. Soon we will see them doing the same which will boost their confidence. 

No one is perfect, but that doesn't make it any easier to accept. Check out these tips on how to accept imperfection and be a happier teacher.Happy Teachers Practice Positive Self Talk

I am all about affirmations, and this one falls into the fake it until you make it category. As silly as it sounds I, to this day, begin every morning by looking myself in the mirror and saying, "Today is going to be great!" It sounds a little crazy, I admit, but it is less about the words I am saying and more about telling myself that I can handle what is thrown my way. Admitting that I can't control the day, but I can control how I react to it. 

By forming your own positive affirmations you can set yourself up to quickly recover from whatever comes your way. This enables you to admit to imperfections, select them as areas of growth, and move on without dwelling. 

Happy Teacher Change What Perfection Means to Them

This is the holy grail of accepting imperfection. Basically instead of thinking that your classroom or life are imperfect you change your perception of what perfect is. 

For me a perfect classroom was never about decor and everything being where it should be, but instead about engaged students who are excited to be there and learning. This means that I was able to let go of the overflowing recycling bin, the water all over the back counter, and the fact that our math stations never quite got picked up to my liking. Instead of viewing our classroom as a mess I was able to change my thinking to see all the learning that led to the overflowing recycling bin, the idea that students had remembered to wash their hands which led to the water on the counter, and my students' excitement to complete math stations which left them a bit jumbled. This is the new perfect for me.

At the end of the day we have to remind ourselves that as amazing as we are as teachers, we are still human and therefor fallible. No one is perfect, and while we can continue to strive for perfection it is important to remember that the definition of perfection is always changing. 

For more ideas on how to be happy as a teacher check out this post on 11 Things Happy Teachers Don't Do

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