6 Things That the HAPPIEST Teachers Do Every Day

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We ALL know who they are.  They’re the teachers who are smiling almost every time you pass them in the hallways. They look energized and motivated.  Most of the time, they’ll take a moment to ask how your day is going or about something in your personal life.  They’re the teachers who are adored by their students and parents.  They rarely pass on negative information or chime in during a teacher gripe fest.  They truly and genuinely LOVE their jobs, and it shows.

Truthfully, I’ve had years where I really felt like this teacher and other years that I envied those who did.  But you know what I’ve figured out over the years? That this magical positive glow and overall attitude of happiness about teaching is a daily CHOICE when you enter your school building.

In the wise words of Abraham Lincoln, 
“Folks are usually about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Teaching is HARD, y’all, on so many levels, and it gets harder every single year.  It gets harder to find the joy and truly love what we do and gets easier to get wrapped up in the negativity.  We become like the five people we surround ourselves with the most.  So WHO are you surrounding yourself with?  And more importantly, are you a source of positivity or negativity to others?

So there’s this.
And then there’s a few simple CHOICES that you can make every single day to be that source of positivity.  Not to mention maybe go home with a smile on your face and a kick in your step!
Here are some daily habits of the HAPPIEST teachers:
Every student.  Every single day.  Make it sweeter by sharing a handshake, hug, or high five with each child.  Six years into teaching, I noticed my best friend, Kambra, doing this with her first graders down the hall, and you know what I noticed?  Every single student was smiling and excited to see her.  In turn, she was glowing and excited to pass out 23 hugs.  The children who looked like they might have had a rough morning were immediately given attention and love.  The students in line who were waiting to greet her were eager for their turn.  Talk about starting your day on a positive note from the moment they enter your classroom!
I began greeting my students this way the very next day, and never stopped.  Even when I’d had a difficult or chaotic morning, those 23 bright-eyed faces and embraces chirping, “Good Morning, Mrs. Brown!” reminded me why I showed up that day and how important my job really was.
Notice that I didn’t say to “teach all day with Pinterest ideas from the night before” or “throw your objectives boards out the window.”  “Stray” means to keep the big picture in mind, but take advantage of those teachable moments whenever possible.  If you teach by the book, page by page, day by day, you will lose your motivation for teaching and your students will lose their motivation for learning.  Teaching is an art and a science, but it is also a DANCE. The happiest teachers are constantly tuned in to their students and move with their ever-changing rhythms.
Kids are hilarious, y’all.  They just are.  And if you don’t find humor in the day-to-day things that they say and do, you might be in the wrong profession.  It’s no secret that teachers always have the best stories to share at the dinner table or can’t wait to pop over and tell a teammate, “You’ll never believe what so-and-so just said!”  Bonus points for actually acting out scenarios on your planning period (which my teammates and I totally did.) Take time to laugh often.  It’s a small reminder of why our job is the best job in the world.
A positive note home, a short email, a compliment call, even a shout out from the car window at dismissal!  Even on those days when your students seem to have been plotting against you, there are always those students that make your day a little brighter.  My teammate and dear friend, Sara, used to email 2-3 parents every Friday afternoon to share something positive about each child, and it was the perfect way to end the week with a feeling that you made a difference not only for students, but for their families.  Take a small moment to share some love with parents, watch them swell with pride and appreciation, and then bask in the positivity that comes right back in your direction.
Teaching isn’t just about the kids, guys.  Forming relationships with other adults is crucial to your sanity and survival as a teacher, AND will help you grow in your practice. So stop closing your door and start letting in some teacher friends.
It doesn’t have to be hard.
Share a cup of coffee. (And while we’re at it, let’s just add COFFEE to the list of things that happy teachers do every day.  A cup of hot coffee + french vanilla creamer + 2 Sweet n Lows = my happy place)  Ask a teammate for advice. And value her response. Grading papers during your lunch break?  Go sit with a teacher friend and grade together.  Run an extra set of copies for your teammate because she’s running late.  Discuss the newest lineup of Bachelor contestants during car duty.
Whatever form of bonding or act of kindness you choose, the need for adult interactions and relationships will bring you a much greater sense of happiness and fulfillment about your job.

I saved this one for last because I adamantly believe it is the MOST important.  I’m willing to bet that the happiest teachers you know do not go to the school on weekends unless is it an emergency.  They might come a little early and leave a little late each day, but by no means work at school until dinnertime.  Now, I realize new teachers or teachers who are new to a school, grade level, or district are the exception, BUT that is still no substitute for having a healthy and happy personal life.

This one is also the HARDEST for most teachers (including myself) who are committed to their jobs and their students. Why?! Because there is absolutely NO way to get everything done during the school day that we have to get done.  Do we have to take work home with us?  Absolutely.  But do we have to drag our teacher bag in the door and work from 4-10 pm every single night, barely having time to enjoy time with our family and friends, much less breathe?  Absolutely NOT.  My friend Kambra once reminded me that, “The most important work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home.”  Looking back on your life, do you really want to say, “Well, I was REALLY good at grading papers and returning them on time and my lesson plans were always flawless!”  That’s not what matters in this life, guys. As my principal tells us after every faculty meeting, “Go home and love on your loved ones.”  LEAVE your teacher bag in the car for once.  The world will not end if you get it done tomorrow or the next day.  Showing up to teach and invest in your students each day is what REALLY matters.

Be a positive LIGHT at your school and take care of yourself, even in times of darkness.  Your students need you.  Your colleagues need you.  And you only have one year to shape those little minds.
“Be happy for this moment, for this moment is your life.”
-Omar Khayyam  

Need some more positivity? Click below for a FREE set of happiness quote posters and pictures to match this post:


  1. Your periscope about this was amazing!! Every teacher needs these reminders. Thank you for the posters! They are beautiful!! I will definitely be sharing your post!!!

  2. I loved your Periscope about this, Brooke. Here's to all of us having a HAPPY year! Thank you for your advice and encouragement.

    School and the City

  3. I just wanted to say thank you! After seeing your Periscope on yesterday, I decided to go ahead and do my very first scope even though I was nervous as heck! It was also great speaking with you on the #tptchat on yesterday! I hope you and everyone viewing this has a great school year!

  4. Great reminders for the new school year!

  5. Thank you so much, Andrea! I so appreciate your support and kind words and I'm so glad you like the posters! Love connecting with you! 🙂

  6. Thank you so much, Kristin! I totally agree! A HAPPY year sounds fabulous! I appreciate your kind words and support! 🙂

  7. I am so happy to hear that you are Periscoping! It really does get a little easier and more natural feeling the more that you do it. Love connecting with you and I very much appreciate your support and kind words! Hope you have a terrific school year and I'm sure we'll talk soon! 🙂

  8. Thank you so much, Kellye! 🙂 Looking forward to a wonderful year!

  9. Hi Brooke,

    I really loved your post and believe so much in #teacherwellness. Thank you for your uplifting ideas and suggestions. I will be sharing this for sure. Have a great school year. P.S. I am so interested in your gifted resource coordinator position as it is for early learners. Many districts don't acknowledge gifted students at that age (if at all). It's another passion of mine. 🙂


  10. Thank you so much, Shelley! I'm so glad you liked it and I am a big believer in #teacherwellness as well. I absolutely LOVE working with my younger GT students and truthfully, I might never leave this position! They are such a joy and are capable of SO much! 🙂

    I hope you have a terrific school year!!!

  11. Such great tips! All so important, but I am a HUGE believer in greeting your students at the door. I am glad you mentioned that one! Makes a huge difference and sets the tone for the whole day when everyone is smiling in the morning 🙂
    Maternelle avec Mme Andrea

  12. So wonderful to share. Definitely will use these.

  13. Brooke this was awesome. I just accepted my first teaching job for this year and needed this. Love you!

  14. Your post is going crazy on my Facebook page Brooke. Congratulations! Let's keep in touch! https://www.facebook.com/youhavethewritestuff/posts/1177034028976942

  15. Excellent advice! I know I'm great at some of these things, and need to put more effort into others. Thank you for reminding me of what is truly important!

  16. Thanks so much! I love the reminders as I prep for this new year! I printed out the "Today, I choose Joy" for my house and for school!

  17. Nice! Cute posters! We all need some reminding! ?

  18. A nice reminder. Thank you very much.

    Greetings from a collegue in Norway ☺

  19. A nice reminder. Thank you very much.

    Greetings from a collegue in Norway ☺

  20. Great list for all teachers 😉

  21. Andrea,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to read! I completely agree about greeting your students. Such a game changer for me! 🙂

  22. Thank you so much, Lori! I appreciate you visiting my blog! 🙂

  23. Thank you so much, Lory! 🙂

  24. Norway! That is so cool that you've visited my blog from so far away! 🙂 Thank you so much, Liv!!:-)

  25. Thank you so much, Amanda! I'm so happy for you and I know you'll have a wonderful first year! Best of luck! 🙂

  26. Thank you so much, Peppi! 🙂

  27. You are so welcome, Paula! Thank you so much for visiting my blog and I'm so glad you found it helpful. I hope you have a fabulous year! 🙂

  28. I love that one too! Thank you so much for visiting my blog, Tamara! I hope you have a fabulous year! 🙂

  29. Wow, I love this post!! I SO agree with every one of these tips!! Sharing it this week on fb and bookmarking for when I need it later! Thanks for the reminders!
    Peace, Love, and First Grade

  30. Hi Laura!
    Thank you so much for reading my post and I'm so glad you like it! 🙂 I'm very honored that you would share on Facebook. Your blog is incredible! Thank you for your kindness and I hope you're having a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

  31. Soraya Guerios says:

    I love this post!! A totally agree with every sngle word! Thank you so much from Brazil!!

  32. Thanks for sharing.

  33. Excellent. So many teacher are afraid to stay, but sometimes you just gotta throw a review game in there when students are just to squirrelly or not ready for the next lesson, or gloss over material that students have shown understanding to something meatier.
    I think you should change the last one just a bit. I like bringing home a fun project, or reading a book ahead of time. Sometimes the best time for me to grade is during a rerun of Bones.

  34. I love this. Every word. What a wonderful way to look at my practice!!

  35. Thank you. I am a new teacher starting on Monday and this helps. a lot.

  36. An amazing article and also inspirational. I really liked it and I learned something from it, so thank you for that!!!!

  37. This is the second time I’ve stumbled across this and read it and it’s true and helpful.

    Unfortunately,I can’t greet all my students at the door since we have a morning routine where we collect the students from a line up downstairs each morning and walk them to the classroom, but I always try to come to them with a smile and once we get to the classroom I make myself accessible for the first few minutes so the children can come share with me their quick little snippets from home while they’re doing their morning unpacking jobs.

    I do make a point of saying goodbye to every student by name as they leave at dismissal time no matter what kind of day we’ve had. (And not just my own class but I try to do this for the students in the other 4 Kindergarten classes as well since they all leave through the same door).

    • Brooke Brown says:

      Thank you so much for reading, Hannah! It sounds like to you are a very loving and dedicated teacher! Your students are lucky to have you!

  38. Oh my goodness thank you! I have been looking for ways to remind myself of how much I love teaching and my students. These first two years have been very tough especially being in a low income school. I can’t wait to print this out and put them around my desk!

    • Brooke Brown says:

      Thank you so much for reading, Laurie! I’m so glad you found it uplifting and I hope you have a fantastic second year of teaching! 🙂

  39. I love your list, and plan to adopt them this year! I have a challenging year coming up and will need to be purposeful in finding joy in my job, I’m afraid. I would add only one item and that is end the day at the door high-fiving students as they go home. I begin the day that way and end it that way. It helps in calm the chaotic feeling at the end of the day as well as remind each child that no matter what happened during the day, I was glad they were there and we start fresh the next day.

  40. Thank you for your uplifting ideas and suggestions, so inspiring

    I am an elementary teacher in Indonesia and this article very helps.