If you’re like me, you had your students thinking about thankfulness this week in one way or another. We like to focus our lessons on pilgrims and thankfulness. That’s what Thanksgiving is all about—that, and lots of food.
Thanksgiving is also a feeling–of coming home, warmth, friends, and family. It’s truly our time to reflect and appreciate all that being part of something bigger entails.
Over one hundred years ago, the national holiday of Thanksgiving was created to unite a divided country following the Civil War.
Taking the time to truly appreciate our blessings only increases them. Let’s take time to create a rampage of appreciation for our abundance. Through using this process, you’ll feel more peaceful and centered throughout your day and your holiday.
Step 1. Begin with where you are. Observe your environment wherever you may be.
Step 2. Choose some specific aspect you like or enjoy.
Step 3. Focus all your attention precisely on what you enjoy about that object, person, or thing.
For example, in your classroom, you can appreciate anything in your environment, your lessons, and your school. As your students arrive in the morning, notice things you enjoy about each student. You might think to yourself, “I really enjoy the way she smiles at me in the morning” or “I love how Rufus gets right to work when he sits down”.
Try this at home as well. You might really enjoy your couch, thinking, “I really enjoy sitting on this couch. It’s so comfortable.” Now move to a different object. Focus on the object you like, not on anything you want to improve in your environment. By appreciating your environment just as it is, you’ll begin to have different emotions associated with it.
Use Instagram to take appreciation to the next level—it can be a personal, visual gratitude journal. Using it in this way allows you to focus elevating your mood every single day.
I’ve taken pictures of beautiful objects and moments in the classroom—a pencil placed across the paper mid-sentence, a student helping another, engaged reading, personal drawings, and an empty classroom at the end of the day. In this way, I keep appreciation at the forefront of my mind and day.
We teachers can inspire each other with our visual gratitude. I hope you will write in your gratitude journal without hiding it away for your eyes only. But even more: post your appreciation! Search with hashtag #visiblegratitude to see my daily postings on Instagram AND post yours with the same hashtag. Let’s all make joy what it means to be a teacher!
Make sure you check out next week’s blog post to inspire you to teach through the holidays!