Teaching Can Make You a Happier Person
Teaching often gets a bad rap as a bad career choice. We are often reminded that the pay isn’t great and the hours are long. We also hear that it has become less about teaching and more about testing.
On the flip side, however, teaching provides us with a tremendous amount of joy that is felt with an incredible impact as we work with each and every child.
There is no other career where one can feel the clear and tangible difference that is made in helping to shape the future of each generation. It is this sense of joy and of service which has attracted so many individuals to teaching.
Is the work difficult and challenging? Yes
It is also as equally noble and fulfilling.
In education, there is seldom a singular answer of truth. Teaching is complex. What other profession is both based on so much tradition and knowledge of the past, and at the same time so focused on the demands and needs of the future? This can be both very stressful and yet so exciting to those that make teaching their career choice.
According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, a career in teaching may be the secret to the good life. Teaching is one of the best careers in terms of employee well-being, beating out investment bankers, engineers, entrepreneurs, and many other career choice categories.
Their findings suggest that out of 14 major career categories, teachers are No. 2 in overall well-being, trailing behind physicians, who ranked No. 1. Teachers have a high sense of well-being because they rate their lives highly and are in great emotional health, which are two key subcomponents of well-being. In those two categories, teachers also rank No. 2, beating out professional workers, nurses, business owners, and managers and executives, among others. …
When thinking about their life on a scale of 0-10 — with 0 being the worst possible life and 10 being the best possible life, teachers rate their lives higher than all other professions surveyed, except physicians. Further, teachers are No. 3 among the professions surveyed in terms of saying they get to “use their strengths and do what they do best every day.”
Teachers are also a happy bunch. They are the most likely of all professions to say they “smiled or laughed a lot yesterday,” and the most likely to report experiencing “happiness” and “enjoyment”. What’s more, teachers rank No. 2 in saying they “learn or do something new” each day.
“Well-being” means more than “health and wealth,” as detailed in a study conducted by the Princeton economist Angus Deaton and famed psychologist Daniel Kahneman. In summary what was found was that happiness doesn’t increase above an income of $75,000. And although teachers don’t make huge salaries, their salary and benefits are relatively stable, especially when measured by the number of days they work in a year.
The one category in which teachers fare poorly is “work environment.” When asked whether their “supervisor always creates an environment that is trusting and open” teachers rank last, behind coal miners and other more obviously strenuous careers. They also rank last when asked whether they were “treated with respect all day yesterday.”
This is underlying feeling for teachers and is a huge factor that contributes to our national teacher attrition crisis and leads to fewer of our teachers staying emotionally engaged. Education leaders need to keep in mind that over 2 million new teachers will be hired across the country over the course of the next ten years. What will be done differently to have how teachers currently feel about their workplace?
Teach n’ Kids Learn (TKL) will be looking for answers at the upcoming World Happiness Summit, which will be held in Miami, Florida on March 17th -19th. This conference is focused on the 6 key elements of well-being – Purpose, Social, Financial, Community, Physical, and Mindfulness – to shape how we perceive and achieve happiness. Never before has a gathering of governmental leaders, forward-thinking economists, NGOs, NPOs, and groundbreaking technologists united in this unprecedented format around the data-driven science of happiness.
As one of the strategic partnerships for this event, Teach n’ Kids Learn (TKL) will gather information presented and post articles which will benefit our education leaders as they look to change the perceptions of being a teacher and provide a better workplace environment.
So Stayed Tuned!