• Teacher Tips

5 Tips for a Happier You

Updated: Oct 26, 2020

If you had a little mantra for yourself, or some non-negotiable guidelines, what would they be?

I’ve thought about this long and hard and the following five ideas ring true for me both in work and home life. I think it’s important to try to remember that we have just one life...and that school life is only part of our life, although it can often feel like much much more. Balance your life with that old saying in mind: you don’t live to work, you work to live.


1. Be patient

This is a skill...to be able to bite your tongue and hold in what you really want to say, or to watch something unfold that disrupts your plans, but as frustrating as this can be, quite often the impact is minimal. Try to think about your reaction to a frustrating situation: you have prepared your classroom for the new school year - library sorted, baskets all organised, newly backed display boards - and as a child with difficulties goes into crisis, you watch them draw all over your walls. Do you sanction them because you are annoyed that you will need to back that display board again in your own time? Do you go and find someone else to deal with it? Break down and cry? Do you understand the needs of the child and recognise that this could be a cry for help? Whatever you would choose to do, try thinking of the impact of this event in 10 minutes , 1 hour or even one days time. You may not be thinking of situations involving your pupils, but colleagues or family members. Be patient to allow yourself to stay in control.

Here is a link to an interesting Ted Talk that explains this concept using chairs to represent reactions.

https://youtu.be/4BZuWrdC-9Q “Own your behaviours, master your communication, determine your success” Louise Evans


2. Be productive

This point really could be my number one mantra. I try to make my days as productive as possible. There are so many things to do in one day and more crop up as the hours pass, so it is vital that we as teachers are organised and manage time effectively.

Have you downloaded the Google Keep app? Google Keep keeps all of your to-dos in one place and you have them at your fingertips, rather than carrying around a notebook. You can take photos and store them with notes, you can hand write notes, voice record notes....it’s just brilliant! It’s connected to your google account so you can have it open at school on your iPad or computer. I’m still playing around with it and finding out how I can use it more effectively, but already I felt it was worth a mention.

You may want to check out an earlier post I wrote, “+Five ways to increase your productivity”


Here you will see how to organise your to-dos using the Eisenhower model.

Minimal effort - maximum impact. That’s the aim of the game.


3. Be flexible

So I have a class timetable that’s all pretty and colourful...saved on the school system...printed and displayed beautifully in my classroom. Let me tell you...it’s a lie! Real life happens and we try to fit in so many experiences for the children that this timetable may as well be written as a list stating: Maths lessons x 5, English x 5 etc. The children get so much out of additional experiences and Ofsted are expecting us to deliver a rich and broad curriculum, so try to remember that flexibility is key in your classroom. If you are planning a themed day, week or workshop, try to give your colleagues plenty of notice (and parents!).

Be flexible in your teaching approaches, your behaviour management approaches and your time. Speaking of time - waking an hour earlier means another hour lived. Check out my tips for a fresh start using this link: https://www.teachertips.co.uk/post/five-tips-for-a-fresh-start


4. Be consistent

If you say you’re going to do something - do it. Use your Google Keep app to set reminders for yourself to get back to people. Everyone in school runs a tight ship so try to follow up in good time. You will gain a lot of respect.

Have a daily routine for yourself. “Decision fatigue” is an actual thing! You can avoid it by eliminating choices the night before - for example, something as simple as getting your outfit ready the night before will mean that you don’t need to decide in the morning. It takes 21 days for a new habit to become embedded so challenge yourself to keep something consistent for the three weeks.


5. Be kind to yourself

Please please do this! You must look after yourself first before you can look after anyone else.

Take time for you in whatever shape that takes. Use a guided Headspace meditation and wind down your thoughts, or grab a colouring book and a brew and get creative.

However you choose to be kind to yourself, remember to treat yourself as your own best friend.

I would love to hear how you look after yourself to make sure you live your best life whilst working a hectic job, so please leave a comment or send me a message.

This post was originally posted on Laura Ellen Blog on 13th April 2019

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