Today I am going to share with you a great activity to get you thinking about your happiness in education, the Happiness Timeline. I have done this activity with many educators in workshops and it is amazing the great discussions it initiates. Not only that, many educators have told me that doing this activity has really helped them to become more self reflective and aware of their happiness within the profession.
The activity is very simple to do. You can print off the Happiness in Education Timeline on our MotivatEDU.com website or you can simply draw a x and y-axis as seen here. Now starting on the left hand side of the graph, draw a line a represents your levels of happiness throughout your career. Do not over think it, just think how happy you were coming into education to help you select a starting point. From there, continue your line thinking of each year in your career based on your perceived level of happiness.
Once you have your line on the graph. Take time to analyze it. Often when we do this in workshops, educators will automatically start labelling the reasons for their highs and lows without being asked. This is a great idea. Try to identify why you were so happy on those peaks and so unhappy in those valleys. Looks for trends that are occurring. The key is to be very honest with yourself and self-reflective.
When analyzing those struggles you might have had, ask yourself what you could have done differently to make those times better. We have a lot more control of our happiness than we realize. Look for changes that you might have made to improve your situation. Only focus on things that you have the power to change. Avoid investing negative energy in things you do not control. Instead, focus on the decision you are making to find more happiness.
This is a great activity to do independently. Each year you can add to this graph to see if you are going in the right direction or not. If not, time to make some changes. As mentioned, this is a very powerful activity to do as a group. Talking through your graph with other educators and seeing their timelines, really helps you to dig deeper and reflect more. If you find other educators whom you feel safe enough to share honestly this is really powerful.
Finally, this activity does not need to end with you. This is a great activity to do in the classroom. Not only could you have students graph their happiness throughout their education, but they could also graph their confidence in math, their love of learning or anything really.
Being aware of your happiness and learning what makes you truly happy is an important first step to making your happiness a priority. Hopefully completing your Happiness Timeline gets you thinking more about your happiness!
Thanks and remember to Strive for happiness in Education, you deserve it!