Happy Teacher Series: Follow Your Passions

How to follow your passions in and out of school. Important to remember that we are people, not just teachers!
Are you thinking teaching IS your passion? That's great, but odds are that if you eat, sleep, and breathe teaching you are going to burn out. You will go down in a spectacular blaze of teaching glory, but you will burn out. As educators it is vital that we are passionate about our students, but it is just as important that we take care of our passions outside of the classroom. This makes us better humans and better teachers.

What Are You Passionate About?

Are you into reading? Or how about movies? Do you love to spend time in nature camping and hiking, or is weekend at an all inclusive resort more your style? Regardless of what you are passionate about, foster that passion, and allow it to grow. 

For me, my passions are reading, lying very still while binge watching Netflix, auto racing, and all things travel. All of these passions take time, so I have to pick and choose when I am able to follow them, but I always make sure it happens. In fact, when I am most stressed is when I try to make the most time for them. It might seem counterintuitive, but it has a way of working itself out. 

Happy Teachers Make Time for Their Passions

Teaching is a high demand career, and even when we are not working we are still thinking about our students and classroom. This makes it difficult to find time to pursue our passions. There are a few ways though that we can eek out a little time for ourselves.

The Power of No

Saying no to new commitments is terrifying, especially if you are a people please such as myself, but it is necessary. Saying no to taking on more than you can reasonably handle is a healthy habit to have and one that will make your life exponentially better. I could write a whole post about saying no, and I did, so check it out here

Schedule Your Passions

I know that a spontaneous weekend trip is the thing of dreams, but in reality it hardly ever happens. Instead of leaving your passions to chance write them into your schedule and include them in your to do lists. 

One thing that I started scheduling every day is one hour to read. It is amazing. I give myself complete license to read whatever I am feeling at the moment. Sometimes it is a magazine, other times a novel, and sometimes I even wind up reading a book on pedagogy. All of these help me to relax and enjoy life just a tiny bit more. Who can't use that? 

Think through your schedule and where you can include tiny little bits of your passion. Start small so that you get to relish in the dreaminess that is completely enjoying yourself. Don't stress if it doesn't happen, but try to make sure it does. 

Take Advantage of Your Commute

If you are anything like me, my commute was never less than 25-30 minutes. This time always seemed so wasted until a friend recommended some podcasts. I downloaded a few and then laughed my way to school and back. 

Suddenly the chore of driving to and from work became a time that I looked forward to. It was my special time to listen to comedy, or a story teller that kept me coming back for more. This bridged into audio books, and then there really is no end. 

How to follow your passions in and out of school. Important to remember that we are people, not just teachers! Even if you are just listening to something about your passions it is a de-stresser. While I would love to be in Tuscany myself, just getting a little piece of it through a travel podcast instantly lifts my spirits. If you haven't looked into podcasts then give them a try, there are a million and one out there!

Use the Buddy System

Do you have a friend or coworker that also enjoys the same things you do? Ask them to set a standing date to take advantage of your shared interests. Start small with a monthly meet up and see how it goes.

For example, my friend and I have a standing dinner date every first Tuesday of the month where we go try something new and chat. It is seriously one of the things that I look forward to most, and knowing it is coming always makes me smile.

Happy Teachers Follow Their Passions At School

 Now that we've talked about following your personal passions outside of school, let's talk about at school. Some passions, like reading, translate easy into our classrooms. We are able to share this love with our students seamlessly and are better teachers for it!

Other passions don't directly translate into the classroom, but can serve as relationship builders between us and our students. For example, my passion of auto racing doesn't necessarily apply to the classroom, but you can bet I share it with my students. When you share your thrills with them, they share with you and a bond is formed.

Students innately want to know about you and your life. While I have always protected my personal life from them I find it fun to share hobbies or where I have traveled to. It is always amazing to me how you can tell your students one thing, such as I race a Miata, and they will parlay that over into thirty other conversations that will stretch out months.

When we share our passions with our students they are also able to see what there is out there in the world to discover. A student who never thought that auto racing was for them may turn around and decide to give it a try later in life because they remember something I shared.

For more ideas on how to be a happier teacher check out 11 Things Happy Teachers Don't Do.


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  1. Hi

    I am loving this series, we need happier teachers. I think the buddy system is a great idea, we need to look out for each other!

    1. Thank you Ginger Teacher! I agree, we really need to look out for one another lift each other up!

  2. Yes it's so important to find that balance and make time for your passions. If we think creatively we can find ways so share our passions in the classroom - it all helps to feed the soul and find joy in the little things. Thanks for sharing.


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