Teaching Tuesday: Educators Are Thankful

By Dr. Tracy Vasquez, Dusty Sanchez, and Danielle Remy, faculty

female educator and student smiling together in classroom

November is the time of year when we adopt the attitude of gratitude, meaning we act on our feelings of thankfulness toward ourselves as well as those around us. When we consider being thankful for ourselves, this usually takes on some elements of mindfulness. Our faculty and staff have shared with us the people and things they are thankful for and how they practice gratitude and self-care.

Thankfulness for People and Things

Sometimes we are most thankful for the big things in life, but it is also important to consider the small blessings we receive daily, such as a smile from a stranger, a word of encouragement from a friend or sharing in a laugh with family. Other things we are thankful for relate to our stability in life.

As educators, we greatly appreciate our jobs as teachers, our teammates and administration, our support networks and our faith. Our faith helps us recognize the joy we receive from the blessings we interact with regularly. This includes our spouses, family and pets. Sometimes it is a simple wag of your pup’s tail or their presence at the door to welcome you home.

This time of year can also remind us of the beautiful fall weather and the pleasure we can enjoy with a morning run or hot cup of coffee to sip on during our drive into work or as we prepare for the start of the day. Finding moments of thankfulness in our daily experiences can help us change our mindset and improve elements of our character. Arriving at school ready to face the day with a smile can help us mentally prepare a positive mindset to carry with us.

Showing Gratitude

Educators show gratitude regularly though acts that take place both within the school and within their homes and communities. Something as small as sharing a memory or a specific achievement can be delivered to delivered to have a meaningful impact with students and others. Sharing a message of encouragement and thanking a student for their efforts in the classroom can make a student feel special and appreciated.

Alternatively, when we make an impact with students, and they later thank us for the learning that took place, we can receive the gratitude with grace. For example, helping an English language learner improve reading skills and build confidence can then result in the student sharing his gratitude back to you, explaining how the gift of knowledge helped the student to teach his family English.

Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness is most impactful when it is personal. The way each of us practices mindfulness will shift based upon what we need individually and what we seek according to our interests and desires. For some it may be more active, such as going for a walk or bike ride or even playing a musical instrument. For others it could be more relaxing, including reading, listening to music, journaling, painting or praying.

As busy educators, we know that mindfulness practice can take time and discipline, but can be incredibly rewarding. It gifts us with peace of mind, eases our worries and provides clarity for making the best decisions we can for ourselves and others.

This month, let us take a moment to recharge, refocus and reimagine what gratitude can do to help our health, mindset, careers and classrooms.

Next week we will expand these methods with specific and practical actions you can use daily to show your thankfulness by acts of gratitude in your classrooms and communities. Will you accept our challenge?

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.