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Joy is 100% relevant to a teacher's career

what makes you happy matters

Heart on a stick with a black background

Teachers don't think much about joy

Lately, I've been talking a lot about JOY with teachers.

But it's not because teachers are bringing it up.

In fact, joy tends to be the last thing on teachers' minds when you think about a possible career change.

Most teachers don't ask "What brings me joy?" when you're reflecting on your current teaching experience or considering your job possibilities beyond the classroom.

There are a number of reasons why teachers don't typically think much about experiencing joy:

1 - Much of the narrative in education right now is squarely focused on what's hard.

This is exacerbated by the fact that we humans tend to focus on what's hurting us, rather than what's serving us. It's what keeps us alive!

2 - Teachers often prioritize the joy of others 

Your service-oriented mindset is beautiful, but it may not center you; instead focusing on your students, colleagues, family, community, etc...

3 - You believe that you don't deserve more joy in your work

("Everyone struggles!") or that you don't have the luxury of looking for work that would make you happy ("I need to focus on what I can do for other employers in order to have a fighting chance!")

So it makes a lot of sense that teachers aren't contemplating what brings you joy.

But what if you did think more about joy?!

What if "what brings me joy?" was the most important question you ask yourself as you make career decisions? 

What if experiencing more joy in your work was the biggest priority in shaping your career going forward? 

Because it can be. You get to decide the priorities for your career. 

More joy in your work is not unrealistic.

It's not a fantasy.

It's certainly not "beside the point."

And it's not just for other people.

What happens in your career when you prioritize joy?

Here's what I've seen it look like when teachers (and former teachers) prioritize experiencing joy in their career:

  • Playing with a wide range of possibilities beyond the classroom

  • Discovering work they love in a place they never would have imagined 

  • Choosing roles and jobs that make them healthier & happier

  • Looking forward to going to work (most days)

  • Experiencing more flow and ease in their day to day tasks

  • Using their natural strengths more consistently

  • Saying no to certain tasks and responsibilities that drain their energy

  • Setting boundaries that prioritize their wants and needs

  • Learning about topics they want to learn about

More joy could transform your career from doing work you tolerate or dread to doing work you like or even love.

Isn't this the change you're looking for?!

It's not beyond reach!

What brings you joy?

Noticing what brings you joy (personally and professionally) is the first step toward finding or creating work that makes you happy.

Share what brings you joy in the classroom or beyond in the comments or email me at 

Want help rediscovering what brings you joy?

Sometimes joy can feel really far away, and you might need a little help rediscovering what makes you happy.

In my course Teachers at a Crossroads: Exploring Career Change, we spend a whole lesson on discovering and prioritizing joy in your career.

Another great resource is the book by Cyndie Spiegel, MicroJoys: Finding Hope (especially when) Life is Not OK. Microjoys are a practice of uncovering joy and finding hope at any moment no matter what's going on in your life. They're ordinary delights. Simple and subtle.

Laura with glasses and long brown hair standing in front of a spring shrub

I'm Laura, a career transformation coach for teachers feeling stuck.

I help you explore career possibilities beyond the classroom so that you can make a confident choice about what's next, based on your strengths, values, and what you want most for your life.

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