The holiday season encourages many people to reconsider how they practice gratitude in their lives. However, we think it’s important to be grateful beyond the holidays. Practicing gratitude can help in both your personal life and professional life–especially when you are working with and influencing children and teens. Let’s take a look at how gratitude can help you both inside and outside of the classroom.
Benefits of practicing and teaching gratitude
Gratitude can have a larger or smaller impact on our daily lives. Generally though, it makes us feel more optimistic, positive, and enthusiastic about our lives. It encourages us to be passionate, kind, and forgiving.
This extends to students, too. Gratitude lessons can help students become kinder in situations where they may have typically lashed out before. For example, if students are in a group activity gratitude may remind them to be kinder to their group members.
Gratitude can also lead to becoming closer with your students. Showing them kindness can lead your students to appreciate you more.
However, gratitude is something that should be practiced without an expectation of something in return. True signs of gratitude happen because they are genuinely thankful. It’s important to remind your students of this.
Practicing gratitude in your personal life
Here are some ideas of things to remind yourself to be thankful for:
- “I have a job.”
- “I helped ___ (student’s name, or even coworker) today.”
- “I have a home.”
- “I had a lovely dinner.”
- “I have colleagues I get along with and can laugh with.”
- “My friends are there for me in my times of need.”
- “The weather was nice today.”
- “Today was better than yesterday.”
Gratitude can be as basic as enjoying a cup of your favorite brand of coffee, or as significant as good news after hearing about something tragic. Anything significant to you is something you can be grateful for.
Teaching gratitude in the classroom
There are many projects you can ask your students to do to encourage gratitude:
- Ask your students to share something they’re thankful for. This can be in either a journal entry or round robin session.
- Model gratitude for your students. Examples: thank them for being kind to one another, for persevering when they struggled with a project, etc.
- Implement gratitude into your lesson plans. This can be in a way where you ask your students whether a character was showing gratitude or not.
You can encourage your students to practice gratitude in any way that you feel fits best for your students. We’d love to hear if there are any ways you practice gratitude with your students.
It’s important to remind students that gratitude and kindness matter all year long, not just around the holiday season. Programs like our Onspire C3 can help you implement more lessons about compassion, civility, and cultural awareness. If you’d like to learn more about us and our programs, contact us today.